Chinese YouTuber Wang Mengyun went viral back in 2016 after a video was shared of her eating bat soup.
Apparently, some on the internet are now blaming her for the outbreak of the coronavirus.
Amidst all the sensationalist news coverage of the coronavirus, which has taken 170 lives and infected 8,000 people since the outbreak began on January 1st, some research seemed to indicate it came from bats, despite earlier research suggesting it came from snakes.
This is similar to the SARS epidemic back in 2003 that also seemed to very closely resemble a disease that affects bats.
The main difference between 2003 and 2020 is social media, which facilitates mass hysteria in a way that wasn’t possible two decades ago.
SARS eventually claimed 774 lives worldwide before eventually being contained in July 2003, 6 months after the outbreak began.
Mengyun is seen in the video eating bat soup with a friend after playing with the bat at the dinner table.
She breaks off its wings, dips it into the soup and eats it. “The soup we just had was very delicious and had a fruity flavor,” she claims in the video. “Doesn’t it look like a mini wolfdog?”
She has since received tons of critical emails, comments, and tweets after the coronavirus outbreak.
She published an apology video on Chinese social media website Weibo where she read some of her hate mail.
“You should go to hell. You should be killed in the evening. You’re abnormal. You’re disgusting. Why haven’t you died,” she reads in the video, which has since been taken down.
“Sorry everyone, I shouldn’t eat bats,” apologizing for her local culture, where she says bats are regularly eaten in Southern China, among other wild animals that aren’t considered edible in the West.
Some Twitter users have gone as far as pointing out how coronavirus talk has quickly turned into “xenophobia” and “racism”, causing people to fear Asians for potentially carrying the disease.
If you’re a media outlet or influencer circulating videos and pictures of Chinese people eating bats or other animals just to get clicks and views while fearmongering about different cultures and the Wuhan coronavirus, then you’re both a racist and a dangerous opportunist.
— Eugene Gu, MD (@eugenegu) January 23, 2020
it’s completely insane how the wuhan coronavirus hasn’t generated sympathy for the victims or people most at risk but instead spiralled into racist hysterical conspiracy theories about “dirty” chinese people who eat weird food or a victim-blaming mentality. pic.twitter.com/MSxKWkykJZ
— dogs should vote (@post_hog) January 23, 2020