Skip to main content

Olympic gold medalist Suni Lee says she and a group of fellow Asian American friends were subjected to racist comments and a pepper spray assault. 

Lee, the St. Paul native who became the first Asian American woman to win gold in the all-around gymnastics competition, told PopSugar that she and her friends were waiting for an Uber when a vehicle drove by and people in it yelled racist slurs and told them to "go back where they come from." 

Lee confirmed to CNN that the incident happened in October, though it's unclear where it occurred. Lee is currently in Los Angeles where she has reached the semifinals as a celebrity contestant on ABC's "Dancing With The Stars." 

“I was so mad, but there was nothing I could do or control because they skirted off,” Lee said in an extensive interview about her life with Pop Sugar. “I didn’t do anything to them, and having the reputation, it’s so hard because I didn’t want to do anything that could get me into trouble. I just let it happen.”

Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders have been subjected to increased racism since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, largely due to the virus being first detected in China. 

In Lee's hometown of St. Paul there have been numerous racist incidents aimed at Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, including in March 2021 when KARE 11 reporter Gia Vang announced that her father was a victim in St. Paul

Vang shared her father's account of a driver who "was yelling at every Asian parent at the bus stop, including (my father), to get out of America, or they’ll be killed": 

The nonprofit Stop AAPI Hate recorded more than 9,000 incident reports of hate against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders from March 19, 2020 to June 30, 2021. 

Next Up


State announces $2.5M in grants for child care providers

Child care providers in roughly a dozen communities will receive funds to help grow the supply of affordable, quality child care.


Probe of Golden Valley police uncovers racism, alleged misconduct

One officer was terminated for alleged racist comments and violations of state law.

blowing snow

Blowing snow Friday in Minnesota; will it snow next week?

Winds could gust up to 50 mph Friday afternoon and night.

Deer hunting blaze orange

To combat CWD, late-season deer hunting announced for 9 areas of MN

The special hunts will be held between Dec. 16 and 18.


COVID levels rising in wastewater; BQ.1 now dominant

BQ.1 is the new dominant subvariant in Twin Cities wastewater.

Screen Shot 2022-12-02 at 11.43.05 AM

Keith Ellison, other AGs settle with CarMax over recall disclosures

As part of the settlement, CarMax now must disclosure open recalls online and on the lot.

police lights squad car

Man kidnaps 2-year-old daughter in St. Paul, crashes after pursuit in Minneapolis

The incident involved both police departments in Minneapolis and St. Paul.

police lights

Boys aged 15, 16 arrested after shooting of teen in Woodbury

The victim suffered non-life-threatening gunshot wounds.


Police: Woman found dead with 'traumatic injuries' inside Moorhead home

Police are investigating the incident as a homicide.

Screen Shot 2022-12-02 at 7.59.36 AM

St. Paul's East Side Bar closes after two-and-a-half years in business

The bar opened just as the COVID-19 pandemic closed bars and restaurants.

Police tape

Police: Man and woman found dead inside Rochester home

An investigation is ongoing as of Friday morning.


suni lee

St. Paul's Suni Lee named to Time's list of 100 Most Influential People

Lee won three medals at the Tokyo Olympics, including an all-around gold.

Screen Shot 2021-07-29 at 8.13.48 AM

St. Paul's Sunisa Lee wins all-around gymnastics Olympic gold

A gold medal for the 18-year-old from St. Paul.

sunisa lee

MN Olympic-hopeful Sunisa Lee competing with her father on her mind

Lee has finished second to Simone Biles twice since August.

Eric Andrew Nelson

Racist charged with threatening Black people with knife in St. Paul

The 36-year-old white man was arrested on June 19.

Screen Shot 2021-12-09 at 12.28.35 PM

Know this woman? Police say she's randomly shooting at vehicles

Both incidents were unprovoked, with the woman allegedly shooting at vehicles occupied by an adult driver and children.

Police investigate after anti-Semitic message left on car in St. Paul

It was written in snow on a vehicle parked in Mac-Groveland.