Joe Carollo (left) said Ken Russell, Miami's first Asian-American commissioner, looks like Kim Jong-un.
Joe Carollo (left) said Ken Russell, Miami's first Asian-American commissioner, looks like Kim Jong-un.
Photos by Michael McElroy / Stian Roenning

Joe Carollo Doubles Down on His Racist Asian Joke Against Ken Russell

The buzzed-on-the-sides, long-on-top haircut is now so ubiquitous among millennials that it has passed the point of even seeming edgy or new at this point. Among hipster-fashion types, the shaggy '70s look is in vogue, and most rock bands and male models are growing their hair out into mop-tops once more. Buzzing the sides of your head is simply a sign of basic grooming and fashion sense in 2018: It looks clean, tidy, and uncontroversial.

That is, unless you're an Asian-American man and you cross paths with Miami Commissioner Joe Carollo, who freaked out last week when he saw fellow Commissioner Ken Russell sporting the buzzed-sides style and publicly compared him to Kim Jong-un.

And now, rather than apologize for that remark, Carollo instead doubled down and posted his own Twitter meme yesterday comparing Russell — Miami's first elected Asian-American politician — to the North Korean dictator once more.

"It's not my fault that they've gotten bad haircuts," Carollo tweeted. He then added that everyone needed to #TakeAJoke, which is literally the thing everyone says after they've made an insensitive comment, offended a bunch of people, and refused to apologize.

It all began at a May 10 commission meeting, where Carollo turned to Russell and said, "I've been meaning to say, but I wanted to wait to the end. The more I look at you, I'm becoming fond of that Kim Jung-un new look you've got."

Russell then tried to interject and say, "No, no, no, no," but Carollo plowed right on.

"I'm just wondering if that's in favor of the nuclear negotiations with Trump or showing your protest against Trump and his meeting with Kim?" Carollo asked.

Russell, whose mother is Japanese, responded last week by calling the remark "racist" and explaining he's been forced to "take a joke" about his Asian heritage since he was a child.

In response to the meme, Russell messaged New Times and said he thinks Carollo is lashing out after Russell voted down a bunch of Carollo's bad ideas last week.

"He got outvoted a few times that day, so he was lashing out with a stupid joke," Russell said today. "And my cut is fly AF by the way. No regrets."

Of course, it would be one thing if Carollo's comments seemed like an accident, but he's been repeatedly ensnared in racism scandals: During his run for city commission last year, he shared a photo of his opponent meeting with the rapper Juvenile in an attempt to tie then-challenger Alfie Leon to "crime."

But Carollo's history is actually much worse than that: When he was a Miami cop in the '70s, Carollo famously endorsed pro-segregation presidential candidate George Wallace and got in trouble in 1979 for placing an image of Ku Klux Klan figures in a black cop's mailbox. Carollo tried to pass that incident off as a "prank" too.

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