MALDEN, Mass. (AP) — Advocacy groups in Massachusetts are condemning Malden City Councilor Jadeane Sica for a photo of her posted online two years ago where she dressed up as an employee of Orchids of Asia, the Florida spa at the center of a high-profile prostitution case that implicated Patriots owner Robert Kraft.
Groups in the area including the Greater Malden Asian American Community Coalition released a statement Tuesday demanding that Sica apologize for the photo and calling her out for her use of what they called “yellowface,” which has “historically led to the dehumanization of Asian people," The Boston Globe reported.
In the photo, Sica is wearing an Orchids of Asia T-shirt and a bamboo rice hat. Sica's husband, who is also in the photo, is wearing Patriots gear and sunglasses that resemble the style Kraft often wears.
The costume was a reference to the 2019 prostitution case that led to Kraft and dozens of men being charged with prostitution crimes for allegedly paying spa workers for sex. In 2020, charges against Kraft were dropped.
In a statement Wednesday, Sica said she and her husband were trying to make light of Kraft's implication in the case, but that she can and will do better.
Advocacy groups emphasized that "our culture, our people, and our pain are not a costume.”
Sica said she values all constituents in her district and will continue to grow and learn.