Letter: Disappointed with column painting Sea Shepherd as racist

To the Editor:

I’m disappointed and offended by Mark Lee’s article [from last week], painting the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society (SSCS) and the makers of the film, “The Cove,” as racist. I’ve personally volunteered with Sea Shepherd for years and have met many of the top members of the organization (including head Paul Watson) and can guarantee that they are not racist toward any country whatsoever — especially not toward Japan! 

The allegations that SSCS promotes a racist agenda toward Japanese people is deeply hurtful to those of us who frequently visit Japan for pleasure and especially for the Japanese members within the organization. Mark Lee has apparently not been reading the recent news reports of Scott West and fellow Cove Guardians who worked to rescue survivors from the tsunami in Otsuchi or the many blogs written by Sea Shepherd volunteers praising Japan and the Japanese culture for its progressive attitudes and enlightened perspectives.

This issue has never been about Japan, Norway, Iceland, the Faroes, Canada, or Australia.

The issue has been about protecting our planet’s wildlife. None of us feel that Asians are, as Mark so recklessly puts it, “a convenient scapegoat for the white American media.” I would encourage Mark Lee to have this conversation directly with Paul Watson before he uses your publication as a vehicle to make such bold accusations. I’m sure that Mark would change his opinion of Sea Shepherd, had he taken the time to speak with them.

I think the biggest shock was that this article came from a fellow Seattle resident. I love this city for its multicultural nature and am fortunate to live in Georgetown, just a short distance from the International District, where I frequently visit. Seattle is the most tolerant city I’ve lived in, and it is for that reason that I will likely never leave.

— Rex Ray, Seattle

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29 Responses to “Letter: Disappointed with column painting Sea Shepherd as racist”

  1. Mick says:

    SS and it’s supporters build another strawman argument in an attempt to evade the real issue that Mr. Lee brought out in his article. Mr. Lee stated:

    “I suspect that Watson takes advantage of the racist attitudes of some critics of Japan’s whaling and dolphin hunting activities in order to get attention for himself.”

    He clearly is not claiming that watson is racist. He is pointing out that watson uses peoples racist attitudes to his own advantage. Which is a fair and accurate assesment.

    Mr. Lee also said, “Many comments on blogs and websites about Japanese whaling contain racist remarks about Japanese and Asians.”
    This is a indisputable fact. Racist comments abound in almost every blog or website dealing with the issue of whaling. To claim otherwise is simply turning a blind eye to the truth on watson and his supporters part.

  2. Hector says:

    I believe japan is violating the IWC by performing “research” whaling under false pretenses. Not to mention the fact that they are performing a “scientific research expedition” without issuing Enviornmental Safety Assesments as stated by the Madrid Protocols which is part of the Antarctic Treaty should show that japan is acting illegally, if not by the IWC, then by the Antarctic Treaty. As for Iceland, Norway, and the US native, well they’re not hunting whales in a Sanctuary now are they? The IWC allows natives to hunts because they are classified ad Aboriginals who still depend on whales as a major part of their lives, it’s their main source of food. Iceland and Norway conduct whaling in their own waters because of their fiasco with trying to oppose the ban and although they have the same QUOTA as Japan, their actual catch numbers are much lower, usually around the 100-200. Japan hunts and catches at least double that amount…

  3. Captain Paul Wats0n says:

    To Mark Lee,

    Many of the quotes you used were taken out of context. I would be willing to discuss my views with you one on one anytime you wish.

    One little point that you neglected to mention with your accusations of racism and specifically anti-Asian attitudes on my part is that I have one child – a daughter who lives in Seattle whose mother is Chinese. My inlaws are Chinese, my nephews and nieces are Chinese. You might wish to speak to her about my relationship with Asians.

    I have fired people from my organization for making racist remarks.

    I have Japanese crewmembers on my ships. My L.A. coordinator is Korean.

    I am not anti-Asian.

    In fact we have hit the Norwegian, Danes, Icelanders and Canadians far more aggressively than the Japanese. Our history records that quite dramatically. In 1986 we sank half the Icelandic whaling fleet and shut them down for 17 years. We did a documentary with the BBC in 1986 on the pilot whale kill in the Faeroe Islands – way before the Cove.

    So if you would like to have a discussion on this, please feel free to contact me.

    Paul Watson

  4. Godwin says:

    “There has never been any evidence that the SSCS has committed any action as an act of rascism.”

    There is evidence actually. The campaign against the Makah tribe in Western Washington was yet more white folks telling Native folks what they can and cannot do. Watson elicited support from the far right, and out on that Penninsula is no laughing matter–Tea Bagger country. When the Sea Shepherd tried to organize a rally at Westlake in support of their cause, members of tribes from the Makah on down to the Puyallup organized a counter-demo, and then Watson cancelled his. Sea Shepard members actively harassed, or through proxies did harass Makah tribal people, to the point of the Coast Guard having to intervene.

    The justification was some BS line that the Makah were a trojan horse for Japanese industry, even thought the proposed whale take was less then one half dozen.

    I could go on, but history is history, even if it was forgotten in so little time.

  5. Andre from Sacto says:

    I have volunteered twice for the SSCS and I can testify that any attempts at racism aboard Paul Watsons ship would be met very harshly. In fact, it would be expected from captain and crew that any racist attitudes would be ask to debark from the ship at the earliest port. But lets take it a step further and look at SSCS history in the North West.

    I was a volunteer during the Makah whaling campaign. Then the charge was that the SSCS was racist towards American natives. The primary voice of the racism charge was from the Johnson family on the Makah reservation. They were also the main advocates and beneficiaries of the resumption of whaling. They desperately needed the racist charge to stick to the SSCS. Why? Many of the Makah’s own population was against whaling and voiced their opinions to that fact. The racist charge was not only then used against non-natives to quash any debate but also against their own tribal members as a way to kill the debate within their own community. Many natives volunteered their time and efforts for the SSCS. They did it not as “anti-native” racist but as people who decided that they would not stand by and allow the resumption of commercial whaling in their country.
    Furthermore, the country of Japan was directly behind the Makah’s drive to resume whaling. This was done with financial and political support. What a better why to disprove the biggest critic of whaling by getting a population within it to start.

    The issue is not of racism but of priciples of conservation. The populations of almost all the commercial fisheries are collopsing world wide. The more the debate is turned away from the science of conservation and towards red herrings like ‘racism’ then the better the exploiters of the environment can plunder the last of last.

  6. kujirakira says:

    Funny to see Rex Ray now labeling himself as an SS volunteer when a month ago he denied having anything to do with them, claiming he went to Taiji on his own.
    That said, Rex is among those who have gone to Taiji for Hate-tourism.
    You can see his demeanor from his videos on youtube, where he takes pleasure in insulting Japanese and telling them what to do in their own country.
    When we subtitled his videos into Japanese he got quite upset.
    Which is very odd for an activist. You’d think they would want their message to reach the target audience. It betrays the fact that this racist knows what he is doing is wrong.

    He and his companions use the most vile and filthy language to the faces of Japanese people, knowing they can’t understand him. That’s not the actions of an “activist” trying to affect change, it’s the actions of a racist using “activism” as an excuse to show their true colors.

    • Rex Ray says:

      Kujirakira, please stop distorting the facts. I was an “onshore volunteer” who went to Taiji as a Sea Shepherd supporter (not crew) using my own funds to pay for all of my expenses. All Cove Guardians during my stay (other than Scott West) acted as individuals and did not answer to any organization and did not speak for Sea Shepherd. I’ve always stated that. My blog chronicles my activities in the area where I monitored the dolphin slaughter – it’s there for all the world to see. I suppose whenever something happens in Japan, that everyone should ignore it simply because it happened in Japan?

      The friends I made in the Japanese Coast Guard and in the local community and local law enforcement of Taiji would disagree with your comments as to any racism. The YouTube videos you refer to are still online and some versions were removed by YouTube because they were defaced by your friends to promote your racism argument. My neighborhood has one of the highest concentrations of Asian Americans in the state. Why would I choose to live here if I was racist toward Asians?

      Your website speaks volumes as to what angle you’re promoting.

      • IsanaEnjeru says:

        Dear Veganwhatever,
        In my opinion, it is interesting to find this racist Rex Ray working hard on a damage control. You and your colleagues like Tarah, Rupert, Elora, and bunch of others are considered racists from many Japanese after your own derogatory videos are circulated in Japanese social networks as well as youtube and like.

        I know the law enforcement and coast guards and they definitely consider your actions as racially motivated. If you really think you have become friends with them, you should really need to step back and learn the culture of Japan. In fact, you claim that Covies in Otsuchi helped locals. Could you give me an example (give me some metrics here- stealing fire track doesn’t count)? All I saw was Tarah and her Covie friends walked along a path where a bunch of people died just to capture a snapshot of them saving a friggin fish before leaving the area in one day. Tarah also proudly took a picture at the scene where thousands of people were buried behind her. So every claim you make are full of lies and that is what SSCS and Covies live with. While I accept the fact that you live with your lies comfortably please limit your BS with in your own circle jerk (the term must be familiar to you since you used it in Tsunami park).

        If you accuse other people for distorting facts, i suggest you come out from your own lies first.

  7. Mark Lee is not speak for Japans people. Mark Lee is the racist.

    Whale meat is contain Mercury and poison the Japans people. Mark Lee cheer the keep feeding of poison whale meat to Japans people. Mark Lee hurt the child.

    Put the site and read!
    「Whalemeat in Japanese School Lunches found Toxic」 | Reutersnews

    Sea Shepherd help the Japans people. Paul Watson against the whaler only, not all Japans people. Most Japans people dont the whale meat! Dont like it. 95% Japan dont to eat the whale meat. Paul Watson is friend of 95% of Japans people. Mark Lee is friend of criminal whaler.

    Mark Lee is not Japanese sur name. Japanese dont have letter “L“ in father name of “Lee“. Mark Lee is paternal non Japanese. Mark Lee dont speak for Japans people. Mark Lee speak against the majority of Japans people. And for whaler criminal.

    Sea Shepherd`s Paul Watson`s Daughter is Asian. Paul Watson have the daughter who is Asian. Mark Lee who dont speak for Japans people try to use the Racist word to against man whos daughters Asian! Mark Lee dont tell the viewer reader Paul Watsons own daughter is asian. Mark Lee dont help to stop the crime whaler who take the poison meat to Japans childs mouth and hurt the childs brain.

    Mark Lee use the 「 Racism Sells 」 title to make his own blogs pageviews. Mark Lee is obtain his money off of salarie from Northwest Asian Weekly who has commercial profit adverts showed to eyes of more viewers on his sites page. Mark Lee is the one use the subject of Racism to catch more clicks and advertisements views. Mark Lee of Nwasianweekly is his own bigot who himself use the topic of Racism to sell his own adverts profit. SSCS is non profit. Mark Lee is the one use the Racism Sells in his bad racist article title to gain himself the popularity and the money and revenue profit.

    North West Asian Weekly should to fire the Mark Lee bigot reporter on grounds of profit off using racism and promote the harm to Japans child.

    -“Aoyama“ 青山

    Word of Japans people::

    “Whaling casts shame on us, “Japan has no national interest in the whaling industry“ said Tomohiko Taniguchi, Official Japanese Minister of Foreign Affairs, Tokyo Japan.“

    「 Tokyo News 」
    “Whalemeat in Japanese School Lunches found Toxic“
    Tokyo — “Whale had mercury levels 10 to 16 times more than advised by Japans own Health Ministry.“ “We were shocked that it continued to be served in school lunches,“ Japans Assemblyman Ryono told Reuters News from away.“

    • IsanaEnjeru says:

      To Aoyama,

      I have two questions.
      Can you first find out if they still serve whale meat to school children, let’s start with Taiji.

      Also, what do you know about the mercury levels in Antarctic minke whales? More than 50% of whale meat distributed in Japan is Minke whales while 20% is accounted for by pilot and risso whales/dolphins from coastal whaling.

      While the percentage of people who routinely eat whale meat is not high, it is locale specific. For example, people in kyushu area eat more than people in Kanto.

      So I suggest you check your knowledges first because your levels of ignorance in fact allow these bigots like SSCS and Covies to practice their derogatory actions in Japan. You should also see the videos of Rex and others. It shouldn’t be so difficult to find it in YouTube (use Japanese to search). Then tell me if you still can defend them.

      Before going any further,

    • japanese says:

      It usually eats the whale meat anywhere also in Tokyo.
      I have grown up eating whale’s canned food.
      Recently, the thing ate because circulation decreased, and it did not arrive on the market only became difficult.

      The whale meat has been still put out in a part of the Japanese restaurants.
      It is very delicious.

      The whale is one of the foods as well as the United States beef.
      cow is OK?
      kangaroo is OK?
      pig is OK?
      whale is NO?

      It is not because of catching it indiscriminately.

      Very, a sad racial discrimination is there.

      Please reflect a Japanese opinion more neatly.

      The person more than a Japanese half thinks that the thing that Sea Shepherd Conservation Society is doing is vegetarian’s terrorist version.

  8. Ted says:

    The SSCS can cleanse themselves of the “racist” badge quite easily – Since Japan is probably out of commission now, anyway, it’s time they went out and pestered Icelandic whalers. It should not matter where the whales are located or who hunts them, however the SSCS is never shown to harass any whalers (in recent years) but the Japanese. Sure, the Japanese used the laughable “research purposes” excuse, but at least they tried to make it somewhat diplomatic; Iceland simply told the world “shove off, we’re going whaling.”

    If Japan’s whaling season normally runs from around November to March and Iceland’s season kicks off around May, there is very little reason Paul and crew could not go get in their hair, as well. Because the SSCs is so focused on Japanese whalers, it can easily be misconstrued that the Caucasian whalers get a free pass (no prop foulers or Butyric have been thrown towards Iceland’s whaling fleet). Hence, the racist allegation.

    If the SSCS go out and bust some Icelandic heads next month, you will see the racist argument evaporate.

    What should concern people more is what Japan is going to do with its whale meat stockpile. In a natural disaster of the magnitude they are still reeling from, food is already in short supply. If the government decides to tap into that stockpile to feed their starving masses, we will have yet another generation of people who are actually *thankful* that the government invested in whaling, otherwise they would have starved.

    • shrkb8 says:

      If you had bothered to do any research on SSCS, you would know that their campaigns target more than Japan.

    • 青山 says:

      “Ted“ is the violence extremist: “go out and bust some Icelandic heads next month“. Ted pro whaler want to cut peoples heads. Sea Shepherd dont do the bust Japans peoples heads, Icelands peoples heads, or cut anybodeys heads.

      Ted is a pro whaler who just did advocate violent act of harm against human person to bust open their heads. Ted is type of extremist pro whaler. Example of bad.

      Ted is the pro poisoner of Japans people: “tap into that stockpile to feed their starving masses“ No. Whales meat contain the poison methylmercury. Hurt to the asian childs brain. Ted want to promote the feed of it to Japans people. Ted prizes the hurt of asians.

      Ted is think of Japans people like a dog: “what Japan is going to do with its whale meat stockpile“ `tap into that stockpile to feed their starving masses“ –Whale meat is dogs food.

      ABC NEWS:: “Whale meat sold as Dog Food in Japan“
      “21 Dec 2007 … Whale meat has been sold as dog food in Japan and there is a push now by whalers to encourage children to consume it to help reduce stockpiles.“

      Japans people dont want whale meat. Dont like eat the whale meat. Crime Whalers stuck unable sells the staled whale meat. Small bit Crime Whalers sells the unwant whale chunks as Dogs Food! Then whaler and Ted want to push dogs food into Japans childs mouth!

      Put the Yahoo co jp into the search the words “whale meat used as dog food in japan“ ! Look your own eyes to see the whales meat is viewed as dogfood in Japan.

      Ted is first want to bust heads, then poison Japans child, then view the Japans people as fit to eating the dogs food. Ted a pro-whaler is the one the racist against Japans people.

      Ted is not schooled on whaling subject:: “SSCS is never shown to harass any whalers but the Japanese.“ “it’s time they went out and pestered Icelandic whalers“ — No.

      !!!—> “Report: Sea Shepherd sank half of Iceland’s whaling fleet“

      Teds another lies: “Caucasian whalers get a free pass (no prop foulers or Butyric have been thrown towards Iceland’s whaling fleet). Hence, the racist allegation“ – Sea Shepherd not to just throw a little rope. Sea Shepherd SUNK the caucasians ships and fleet!

      Ted is unfit in schooling on this topic. His nonwit about the whaling makes the accusing that Sea Shepherd never did even the little thing to the white ones–wrong!–the SeaShepherd did MORE worse to the White than to the Asian!

      Sea Shepherds sunked half of the Caucasians whaling fleet! SSCS never did to the Japans whaling fleet. –and dont hurt a single human. The ship were non inhabited. The ships were not sailed out at sea. The ships were ghosted, in shallow dock alone. The no person aboard ship was simply peacefully let water in and lower and lower until sit in water. No body hurt, it just ruin the ships. This is much more to Icelands white fleet than anyone did to Japans whalers. So “Ted“ is unfit on the talking. This is common prowhalers lie.

      Then Ted try to sneak the “(in recent years)“ clause.

      Schooling: “Sea Shepherd the anti-whaling group sunk half of Iceland’s whaling fleet while docked at Reykjavik harbor, claiming the destruction of the ships was the reason the whaling industry in Iceland stalled for 20 years“ Japans crime whalers starting up export again. Icelands majority people dont even eat the whale meat.

      Reporters found Icelands whalers threw whale meats into Iceland`s garbage dumps.

      Ens Newswire |
      “Iceland buried 179 tonnes of whale meat in Garbage Dump“

      Most Icelands dont eat it! Its unedible. Icelands criminal whalers export it. To Japans crime whalers. It`s logic that if the Japan whalers are shutted down it shuts down the Icelanders. Japans whalers are the main reason of Icelands whaling programme.

      So its Whalers are the racists. Icelands caucasian whalers dont to eat it, the white Iceland whalers know its mercury poisoned. So they sell it to Japanese, to poison asians, thats the commerce of Icelands caucasian whalers and Japans Whalers. SSCS stopped it. Saved and helped the Japans children.

      And be known, Sea shepherd didnt hurt one single Icelander, only peaceful sunked the empty metal machine used to kill whale && hurt people. Sea Shepherd dont ever kill a single Japanese either. Japans criminal whaling programme has killed now 3 human persons!

      Japans whaling programme has killed 3 humans. Whalers killed. SeaShepherds has killed nobody. Sea Shepherd stop the whalers poison of Japans childs. Pro Whalers and Ted want to see the criminal whaler push the poison whale meat into the mouth`s of 300,000 children.

      We dont whant or need your help Ted. Majority of Japans people are against whaler.

      “Ted“ is a extremist pro whaler who want to push “bust heads“ and force poison mercury whale meat to hurt Japans child and people. Pro whaler is the true racist.



      “SSCS sank half of Iceland’s Whaling Fleet – Iceland Officially Cancels Whaling Operations for the Next Year“

      • IsanaEnjeru says:

        “Whale meat sold as Dog Food in Japan” do you know the original source of this accusation? Once again, you have to be careful where info comes from.

        Most Japanese are agnostic on whaling or simply don’t care. However many resent SSCS and, lately, Cove guardians because their own videos were circulated in mainstream for those Japanese who didn’t care.

        While I respect some activists with good deed, I find some like SSCS extremely repulsive because they lie to achieve otherwise justifiable cause

    • IsanaEnjeru says:

      Paul Watson is a persona non grata in Iceland. He is a coward and he will never go to Iceland because he will be arrested on the spot.

      • Sharon says:

        no – he sank all thier whaling fleet. He did get arrested and was deported. Nothing cowardly about that.

  9. Katherine says:

    There has never been any evidence that the SSCS has committed any action as an act of rascism. Accusing them of it is merely an attempt to sidestep the awkward murder of intelligent animals by accusing the SSCS them of something that society considers worse: the dislike of someone based on their appearance or culture. It brings to mind a child avoiding a punishment for their violent actions by yelling: “He started it!”

    The idea of a worldwide conservation organisation going to such extremes because they don’t like someone is ludicrous. Japan’s whaling will end soon for the simple economic fact that no one is interested in buying whale meat anymore, and they are desperately looking for a way to save face by accusing others of misdeeds. Rascism is simply the latest accusation.

  10. Mr Munian says:

    I am of Asian origin.
    To say SSCS are racist is highly ignorant, SSCS protect whales from ILLEGAL slaughter. They are represented by members of many nations.
    Mark Lee should develop basic intelligence before writing such a ludicrous article.

    • Sharon says:

      perfect answer. Cheers to you. Illegal slaughter in a WHALE SANCTUARY,

      New Zealand

    • kujirakira says:

      They protest an illegal whale slaughter? Where’s that?
      It’s certainly not involving any Japanese vessels or organizations.

    • Len Drum says:

      What law are the Japanese breaking that makes what they are doing illegal?

      • Sharon says:

        AUSTRALIA has launched unprecedented international legal action against Japan to halt its annual whale hunts in the Southern Ocean.
        Australia had exhausted all diplomatic avenues to stop Southern Ocean whaling, and had been left with no option but to take legal action in the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague.

      • Sharon says:

        At The Hague, Australia is expected to argue its case on ”abuse of rights” principles, charging that the Japanese have been using Article 8 for commercial purposes not for “Research”

    • IsanaEnjeru says:

      Illeglal slaughter….? If you hole JPN for an illegal slaughter, why they don’t say the same for Canada, US, etc?

      • Sharon says:

        what whales are Canada and the US killing?

        • Edward W says:

          Canada kills Narwhals and Belugas. The US kills Bowhead whales. Both countries do this under their aboriginal whaling programs. The US continues to be an IWC member, whlie Canada quit the IWC in the early 80’s.


  1. […] Letter: Disappointed with column painting Sea Shepherd as racistNorthwest Asian WeeklyIt should not matter where the whales are located or who hunts them, however the SSCS is never shown to harass any whalers (in recent years) but the Japanese. Sure, the Japanese used the laughable “research purposes” excuse, but at least they tried to …and more » […]


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