Suni Lee on ‘hate’ for her interracial relationship with Jaylin Smith

January 7, 2022
Suni Lee on 'hate' for her interracial relationship with Jaylin Smith
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Suni Lee, an Olympic gold medalist, said she has received “so much hate” from the Hmong community because of her interracial relationship with her Black boyfriend.  

On Dec. 26, Lee posted two photos with boyfriend Jaylin Smith, a football player at the University of Southern California, according to TODAY. She disabled the comments on the post. 

Four days later a TikTok from user @alixphom, who identifies as half Hmong, showed him standing in front a picture of the couple, clapping and giving a thumbs up. 

“I know that Sunisa will be judged by certain eyes in the Hmong Community because her man is Black. LOVE is LOVE, no matter what race or gender you are. Keep doing you QUEEN,” the video was captioned.

Lee commented on the TikTok saying it made her happy.

“I’ve received so much hate😭 they support me when it’s beneficial for them never when it comes to my happiness. thank you!💗,” she wrote. 

Lee, 18 was the first Hmong-American to win the Olympic all-around competition in Tokyo at the 2020 games. 

Hmong people are an ethnic group who lived in southwestern China but migrated to Laos and Thailand seeking more freedom. The largest communities of Hmong reside in California and Minnesota, with 81,000 living in St. Paul, Minneapolis where Lee was born and raised. 

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In November, Lee told Pop Sugar she experienced anti-Asian hate while waiting with friends for an Uber. She told the outlet a car driving by hurled racial slurs like “ching chong” before getting pepper sprayed.

“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,” she told Pop Sugar. 

Gabriela Miranda contributed to this report. 

Follow reporter Asha Gilbert @Coastalasha. Email: [email protected]



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