Belinda Panelo, a Filipino-American who used to be an MTV VJ in the late 1990s, became the target of a racist tirade in California on Tuesday (United States time).
Panelo was out with her son to buy coffee in the neighborhood of Playa Vista in Los Angeles when the incident occurred. She caught the unidentified woman’s tirade on video, which was broadcast on the Filipino-American show Balitang America and was also shared by several news websites.
In the clip shared on the news report by television station KTLA, the person who attacked Panelo could be heard saying: “What are you? He (Panelo’s son) doesn’t even look human. You don’t belong in Playa Vista.”
“Are you OK?” Panelo could be heard saying behind the camera.
The woman answered: “No I’m not. We don’t want you here. This is our street. Leave us alone.”
“Are you all right?” Panelo asks.
“We pay US$10,000 (PHP524,554) to keep you out,” the woman answered.
“I just bought coffee,” Panelo answered.
The woman shot back: “Oh my God, you bought coffee and you parked on our street!”
KTLA was unable to track down the person who verbally attacked Panelo.
Panelo told ABC that she was unable to catch the peak of the woman’s tirade but said that the stranger kept asking what mix she and her son were and that the attacker kept calling them ugly, poor, and subhumans.
The former VJ told Balitang America that she and her son are now ok. She added that Filipinos should be unfazed by such incidents and remain active in their communities.
Panelo moved back to the U.S. after getting married. She and her family first moved to New York then to California.