A Massachusetts politician has been accused of ‘racial violence’ after a two-year-old Halloween photo surfaced of her dressed as an Asian spa worker in an attempt to poke fun at Patriots owner Robert Kraft – who had been entangled in a sex-trafficking sting at a massage parlor in 2019.
Malden City Councilor Jadeane Sica was pictured wearing a bamboo hat and an ‘Orchids of Asia’ T-shirt – the spa where Kraft was alleged to have attempted to solicit sex – next to her husband, John, who was in a Patriots sweatshirt in a Facebook photo captioned, ‘Happy Halloween with a Happy Ending!’
Kraft was cleared of any wrongdoing last year but the Greater Malden Asian American Community Coalition on Wednesday called out the politician for her ‘harmful, racist and ignorant’ photo.
‘Our culture, our people, and our pain are not a costume,’ the statement read. ‘Our youth, especially our young women, should not see themselves represented and mocked in this way by an elected official of our town. This is racial violence: the appropriation of Asian identity for someone’s amusement.’
Jadeane Sica sparked fury over Halloween photo of her, with her husband John, resurfaced Wednesday
Malden, a suburb north of Boston, has a population of 61,000 – with about 22.5 percent of those being Asian, according to the Boston Globe.
Sica quickly apologized after the outcry by local groups.
‘Two years ago, John and I attended a Halloween Party with costumes that made light of what was at the time a current news event, specifically, the well known case of Patriots owner Robert Kraft having been involved in engaging illegally with sex workers at a Florida massage parlor,’ she wrote in a statement.
‘Since that time, many, myself included, have become much more aware of the fact that the women involved in cases like these are all too often vulnerable members of the Asian community who are victims of exploitation,’ she continued.
Sica was mocking Patriots owner Robert Kraft, who was embroiled in a sex-trafficking probe before all charges were dropped
Here’s Malden councilor Jadeane Sica’s costume. The man next to her has been IDed as her husband, and is apparently dressed as Patriots owner Robert Kraft who was caught in a prostitution sting at the Orchids of Asia spa in January 2019: pic.twitter.com/sXs8IBROsU
— Deanna ¿¿ Pan (@DDpan) November 17, 2021
The councilwoman also said she had ‘love in my heart for the people from all backgrounds, races, and religions’ and that ‘bad intent’ wasn’t always a ‘necessary ingredient’ to be ‘hurtful to others.’
She promised to ‘do better,’ and said she was ‘enlightened’ about her costume choice.
She issued a statement on her Facebook page saying she ‘can and will do better’ and that she has ‘love in my heart for people from all backgrounds, races, and religions’
‘Looking back at the choice of costume through a more enlightened lens allows me to see now what I didn’t see then, which is that costumes that in any way portray another culture can be hurtful and in my case, send a message inconsistent with how I’ve lived my public and private life.
‘I can and will do better,’ she wrote.
The group is now calling on Sica to ‘throw her support behind policies and plans that support her immigrant, People of Color constituents,’ the joint statement said.
Many of the politician’s colleagues also deplored her choice in costume, but with one suggesting she issue an apology.
Councilor Debbie DeMaria said she finds the most ‘profound interactions humans have, is the power of our words. While our actions do speak louder than our words; a verbal apology recognizes our personal failures, humbles and centers us; and certainly can restore broken relationships.’
State Senator Jason Lewis and state Representatives Paul Donato, Kate Lipper-Garabedian, and Steven Ultrino thanked the group for ‘courageously’ speaking out.
‘All people deserve to be treated with respect and dignity, and we strongly condemn any actions that harm or disrespect any racial, religious, or ethnic minority group,’ they said.
‘We also pledge to continue our efforts to support and pass legislation in Massachusetts that advances racial justice and equity in our schools, institutions, and communities…It is important that we all strive to be upstanders and not passive bystanders in order to dismantle systemic racism in Malden and elsewhere.’
Robert Kraft (pictured)
Councilor Stephen Winslow condemned Sica and called for an apology.
‘I hope that Councillor Sica who has worked to eliminate sex trade activities in her own neighborhood will apologize for her choice and work with [Greater Malden Asian American Community Coalition] to confront such depictions as well as with groups that help protect victims of sex exploitation,’ he said.
Sica has come under fire before for hosting an outdoor party in May 2020 in a parking lot that dozens of people attended and reportedly broke social distancing rules, the Boston Globe reported.
A petition was launched calling for her resignation. She later apologized for the party.
Orchids of Asia in Jupiter, Florida, was one of several massage parlors that were raided by federal officials under the suspicion of sex trafficking.
Investigators said the women in the parlor came from China to the US on temporary work visas and believed they’d receive permanent jobs after arriving, but were instead put to work at the parlor that doubled as a prostitution site.
Kraft had been accused of soliciting sex and video showed him at the spa.
However, his attorney argued that police misled the judge who issued the search warrant to place cameras in the parlor and asked the judge to throw out the video of him at the parlor from the evidence.
Assistant State Attorney Greg Kridos disputed the claim, arguing that the spa had ‘all the appearances’ of sex trafficking, but also acknowledged there wasn’t enough evidence to support sex-trafficking claims.