American man accuses Hedy Lee of 'racism' when asked to turn down phone on Taipei MRT

American man accuses Taiwanese writer Hedy Lee of 'racism' against white men when asked to turn down cell phone on Taipei MRT

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Angry American passenger. (Photo from Hedy Lee Facebook page)

Angry American passenger. (Photo from Hedy Lee Facebook page)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) -- An American man last night (Oct. 3) issued a written apology to Taiwanese writer Hedy Lee (李文), daughter of Taiwanese writer Lee Ao (李敖), for accusing her of racism when she requested he turn down the volume on his cell phone while he watched a video on the Taipei MRT, according to her account of the incident on her Facebook page.

Yesterday, having just left a Taipei court hearing over a defamation suit she had filed against her half sibling Lee Kan (李戡), Lee was on her way to Dongmen on the Taipei MRT when she encountered a blonde-haired foreign male playing a video very loudly on his mobile phone. She then asked him in English to turn down the volume, by saying "Hi, do you mind turning down your volume at bit? Thanks. I appreciate it."

In response the man lashed out at her and said, "You've only listened to it for less than 10 seconds. Are you serious? You're prejudiced against white people, aren't you?" Lee replied that she did not think she was being prejudiced against white people, identified herself as Dr. Hedy Lee and emphasized that she too is a foreigner having been born in Manhattan.

He retorted by shouting, "So what if you are a professor? Does that give you the right to bully people?" Lee responded by saying that he should keep his voice down, to not change the topic, and should be more polite when speaking.

The man turned his camera on Lee saying that he would show everyone how she was discriminating against him for watching a video with the volume turned up. She retaliated by standing up and began to shoot video of him as well.


Angry American MRT passenger. (Photo from Hedy Lee Facebook page)

As the confrontation intensified between the two, an MRT passenger called the police, who arrived and took the two to the Rapid Transit Division of the Taipei Police Department in Taipei Main Station. The American man continued to shout at her, claiming that he was being unfairly treated because he was a white man.

The case was then handed over to the Zhongzheng First Police District of the Taipei City Police Department on Zhongxiao West Road, where Lee insisted on pressing charges against the man. The Captain of the station exhorted the man to apologize in exchange for Lee's forgiveness.

After cooler heads prevailed, the man softened his tone and agreed to compose and sign a formal apology statement in English.


(Photo from Hedy Lee Facebook page)

The following is the apology the man submitted:

After the man issued the apology, Lee agreed to forgive him and not press charges. Both sides then signed the document and shook hands.


(Photo from Hedy Lee Facebook page)

Lee then began to chat with the man and found that his first name was Bryan, he had come from the state of Texas, and had lived in Taiwan for five years. He claimed that during those five years, he had never been corrected by Taiwanese when he played movies on his cell phone while riding the MRT.

Lee then claimed that he had never been confronted by MRT passengers before because, "Taiwanese are obsequious to foreigners, and they spoil you rotten!"


Hedy Lee (left) posing with Taipei police officer. (Photo from Hedy Lee Facebook page)