By Jake Romero
SAN FRANCISCO, CA — The campaign supporting the recall of San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin has stirred controversy for circulating a poster that critics considered racist and offensive.
The poster, created by the Recall Chesa Boudin campaign, depicts the current DA in an image mirroring that of Chinese revolutionary Mao Zedong, resembling communist propaganda of the Cold War era.
Roughly 20 leaders of the city’s Asian American and Pacific Islander communities condemned the image at a press conference in Chinatown.
Speakers also denounced the poster’s inclusion of homeless encampments and Boudin’s palm stretched toward a man who is leaning over with his pants around his knees.
“Part of what that ad is trying to also evoke is dehumanizing the experiences of people living in poverty, people suffering from drug addiction,” said Shaw San Liu, organizing director of the Chinese Progressive Association.
The Recall Chesa Boudin campaign, led by Richie Greenberg, initiated the first recall effort against Boudin in January 2020, but it failed to collect the minimum amount of petition signatures needed for an election.
The campaign has since issued a statement in response to the Asian & Pacific Islander Council, claiming that the image is merely a prototype—not an actual poster—found on the campaign’s Twitter page.
The response alleges that the API Council knew the image was never intended for public use and that the press conference was a “sham” which “manufactured a false outrage.”
Mary Jung—chair of the Safer SF Without Boudin campaign, which initiated the current recall effort—also condemned the posters and affirmed that Safer SF has no affiliation with Greenberg’s campaign.