A city councilor in Malden, Massachusetts, has sparked outrage after a photo surfaced of her in a Halloween costume that appeared to poke fun at an 2019 sex-trafficking sting operation involving Asian American spa workers and New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft. Malden Ward 8 Councilor Jadeane Sica issued a statement Wednesday vowing to “do better” after several Asian American groups called her out for the “racial violence” on display in her choice of costume. Sica was photographed wearing a bamboo hat and a T-shirt emblazoned with the name “Orchids of Asia” —the day spa where the Patriots owner was famously charged with soliciting a prostitute in 2019 before the charges were later dropped—while her husband wore a Patriots sweatshirt and oversize gold chain to depict Kraft.
“Our culture, our people, and our pain are not a costume,” the Greater Malden Asian American Community Coalition said in a joint statement with several other organizations. “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,” the statement said. Sica said the photograph was taken two years ago, and since then, “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.”