Earlier this week, The Talk co-host Julie Chen revealed that she underwent plastic surgery to fix her “Asian eyes” after receiving racist comments from her news director when she was 25.
Chen worked in Dayton, Ohio, from 1995 until 1997. At the time, she was asked if she could fill in at the anchor desk during the holidays. However, she was told, “You will never be on this anchor desk, because you’re Chinese… How relatable are you to our community? How big of an Asian community do we really have in Dayton?” The director also told her that her “Asian eyes” made her look “disinterested and bored” because they were “so heavy, so small.”
Chen also said an agent suggested plastic surgery to her, telling her it was the only way she would succeed on TV. After speaking with her parents, who paid for the plastic surgery, Chen had work done on her eyes and nose. Chen admitted that she initially had regrets, but that the surgery helped her launch a successful career.
“And after I had it done, the ball did roll for me,” Chen, who is now 43 years old, said. “And I wondered, did I give into the man?”
Still, she was disappointed that discrimination and racism were behind her decision.
“I did it. I moved on,” she said. “No one’s more proud of being Chinese than I am.”
WDTN, the station Julie Chen was working for at the time, has issued an apology to the reality and talk show host.
“We are sorry to hear about what happened to CBS’ Julie Chen in 1995 when she was a reporter at WDTN-TV,” said Joe Abouzeid, WDTN and WBDT president and general manager in a statement. “The station was under different management and ownership during that time. At WDTN and WBDT, we don’t tolerate racism or discrimination of any kind.”