The Daily Show host Trevor Noah slammed the idea that Robert Aaron Long wasn't motivated by racism when he allegedly murdered eight people at a string of Atlanta area spas.
On Wednesday, March 17, the comedian addressed the shooting in his opening monologue, saying, "You killed six Asian people. If there's anyone who's racist, it's a motherf--ker who kills six Asian women. Your murders speak louder than your words."
According to NBC News, Cherokee County Sheriff's Captain Jay Baker said in a press conference that Long claimed to have a sex addiction and was "attempting to take out that temptation," by shooting the six women and two men.
"Please don't tell me that this thing had nothing to do with race. Even if the shooter says that," Noah explained. "You can't disconnect this violence from the racial stereotypes that people attach to Asian women."
Noah continued, "This guy blamed a specific race of people for his problems, and then murdered them because of it. If that's not racism, then the word has no meaning."
Additionally, Noah criticized Capt. Baker for seemingly sympathizing with the shooter in a press conference. At the time, Baker said, "[Long] had a bad day, and this is what he did.
In response, Noah mocked, "‘It was a bad day for him,'" adding, "For him? No, yesterday was a bad day for the people who lost their lives... It's always interesting who police try and find the humanity in."
The Daily Show host claimed Baker's response to the shooting would've been different if the killer wasn't white, saying, "I can guarantee you, if a Black person or Brown person went on a mass killing spree in a white neighborhood, not a f--k would a police officer go on TV and say, 'Well, he was kind of at the end of his rope, and this is what they did.' They barely have patience for Black protesters who are not killing anybody."
He acknowledged that the world will never be a perfect place, but said people can try to "create an environment where we're not letting specific people be targeted because of the color of their skin."
"In this instance, find an anti-hate organization; try and work with them. Reach out to people who need support. Donate your money, donate your time, whatever you can, but do something," the 37-year-old star concluded. "And most importantly, let's try to f--king pay attention so that it doesn't happen again. Because the truth is, we could see this coming."
On Thursday, March 18, Hawaii Five-0 star Daniel Dae-Kim spoke to Congress about the rise in attacks against Asian people. In his testimony, he also criticized Baker, pointing out that the captain, "tweeted out t-shirts making fun of coronavirus and connecting it to China."
He added, "This is a person who has a direct connection to the shooter of eight people. He is not impartial. So it calls into question the veracity of his position."
Baker has not yet responded to the criticism, however, as of March 18, he is reportedly no longer a spokesperson in the case.
According to the NYT, Long's lawyer said his client waived an arrangement that was set for Thursday, March 18.
In response to this crisis, E! issued the following response: "Following this week's tragedy in Atlanta, we renew our commitment to amplify the voices of our AAPI colleagues, partners and friends, and pledge to fight with them against hate. Click on the link to see how all of us can help."