The University of Wisconsin-Madison and its athletic department have banned a men’s basketball fan from UW Athletics events after a viral video on TikTok showed him making a racist gesture toward the Northwestern University student section in Evanston, Illinois on Tuesday.
The attendee at the away game was pictured wearing a long sleeve cardinal red shirt next to other Badger fans. In the video, they can be seen showing their middle finger to Northwestern fans before making an anti-Asian eye gesture. According to Northwestern data, approximately 25% of its current first-year class identifies as Asian American.
The individual was then approached by a Northwestern employee and escorted from the game by a police officer.
As of Thursday afternoon, the TikTok has gained over 984,000 views and 134,000 likes.
Wisconsin and Northwestern fans took to Twitter and TikTok to express their disapproval of the attendee’s behavior, with some stating that the UW-Madison or the university’s athletic program should investigate and ban the individual from future events.
Wisconsin State Assembly Rep. Francesca Hong tweeted in response to the incident, calling it “disgusting & embarrassing behavior.”
“I implore @UWMadison (for) the safety of all to identify and abolish this individual from attending any future @UWBadgers events,” Rep. Hong said. “We in WI denounce racism, discrimination & xenophobia in all forms. Be better. #StopAsianHate.”
In an official statement, Chancellor Rebecca Blank and Director of Athletics Chris McIntosh condemned the individual’s actions, emphasizing that racist behavior is “unacceptable.”
“We want to acknowledge that hateful behavior like this still happens far too often, on and off campus — towards members of our Asian Pacific Islander and Desi American community as well as other marginalized communities,” Chancellor Blank and McIntosh said. “It inflicts pain and fear and causes students, staff and faculty to feel unwelcome and unsafe.”
Chancellor Blank and McIntosh said that the university is committed to supporting community members harmed by racist behavior.
“We will take all appropriate actions under university policies in response to incidents like this,” they said. “We encourage anyone witnessing or experiencing an incident to report it.”
According to Chancellor Blank and McIntosh’s statement, the individual is not a UW-Madison student or employee and will be notified that they are no longer welcome at any future UW Athletics event. The individual is prohibited from purchasing tickets through the athletic department.
The official Wisconsin Badgers and UW-Madison Twitter accounts also condemned the individual publicly Thursday.
“We are deeply disturbed by this behavior and find it abhorrent & disgusting,” the Wisconsin Badgers organization stated. “This is no representation of what it means to be a Badger. We denounce any acts of racism or discrimination. We applaud Northwestern for removing this individual. His actions have no place at our events.”
UW-Madison reiterated this message and condemned the anti-Asian actions.
Addison Lathers is the Editor in Chief of The Daily Cardinal. She has covered city and campus news and held two editor positions. Follow her on Twitter at @addisonlathers.