Actress Charlyne Yi ( you may remember her on “House”—well, maybe not) tweeted last week :
“I think about the first time I met David Cross 10 years ago & he made fun of my pants (that were tattered because I was poor). Dumbfounded I stared at him speechless and he said to me ‘what’s a matter? You don’t speak English?? Ching-chong-ching-chong.’
“I will say this: I can tell the difference between this man making a joke vs condescending me,” Yi wrote later. “This happened 10 years ago and I sure as hell hope he’s changed (or at the very least, he’s scared enough to not be his racist self).”
Now Cross, a very funny improvisational comic and actor best known for “Arrested Development” (he was also in the first two “Men in Black” films) is being attacked on social media as a a racist. He purports to be flummoxed.
“I don’t remember this at all!” he said in a tweet this week. Cross later tweeted to Yi,
“Charlene, i dont remember this at all! It’s bonkers to me and WAY, way out of character. DM me so I can understand all of this.”
Mark this down as one more way social media allows people to be worse human beings, and makes the world a meaner, nastier place.
Yi, who has obviously held a grudge for a long, long time (Career just didn’t work out the way you hoped, eh?) exploited social media to get some media buzz by accusing a colleague of being a jerk ten years ago. This, in turn, calls down on Cross’s head the Web Furies, harms his reputation, and there isn’t a thing he can do to defend himself, whether he said what she claims, or not.
This is a blinding Golden Rule breach by Yi. Who among us would like to have this happen—a bad moment in a single personal interaction suddenly made public just to cause us humiliation and embarrassment? It seems as if Yi, lacking a salacious story of being propositioned, assaulted or raped by Harvey Weinstein, decided to see if recounting the time David Cross was a jerk to her could get some cheap publicity. And it worked!
Right now I’m trying to make a mental list of all of the people, including girls friends, rivals, random acquaintances and others, who could tell an anecdote about me ten years old or more that would make me want to hide my head under a bag. It’s pretty long. I bet your list is too.
Author/blogger Amy Alkon, as she often does, succinctly nailed what’s so wrong with what Yi has done to Cross ( that is, besides the unfairness, the Anita Hill-style ambush, the Golden Rule defiance, and the sheer vindictive meanness…):
Yi’s late hits on Cross do nothing to make me hold a negative view of his character; at worst, he was a jerk a decade ago. That’s irrelevant to who he is in 2017. Charlyne, in contrast, has shown me that she’s a mean, untrustworthy jerk now.
I wouldn’t want to have anything to do with her.