A podcast dramatizing the 1982 murder of Vincent Chin, a Chinese American engineer, has been removed from audio platforms by producers — after Chin’s family members and an activist involved in the case said they were not consulted about the project.
The “Hold Still, Vincent” podcast, whose producers included Gemma Chan (“Eternals,” “Crazy Rich Asians”), featured a star-studded cast for what was described as a table read of a script for a prospective feature film. In addition, the podcast featured interviews with artists and activists of the Asian American and Pacific Islander communities, moderated by actor John Cho.
The six episodes of “Hold Still, Vincent” were originally released May 26. A day later, journalist and activist Helen Zia, a central figure in the civil-rights movement sparked by Chin’s murder, posted on social media that neither she nor his estate were contacted about the podcast.
“To my friends who are sending congrats to me for the new Vincent Chin podcast — I don’t know anyone associated with this project and have never been contacted by them. Nor has the Estate of Vincent and Lily Chin,” Zia wrote, urging creators working on projects about his case to “at least check in with community people who lived these experiences.”
Zia added, “That said, such an important story deserves to be told and every American should know about what happened to Vincent Chin and about this multiracial, multicultural Asian American-centered civil rights movement. I hope these various Hollywood projects get the stories right about the AAPI community, because the lessons of the Vincent Chin justice movement are critical to countering today’s tsunami of anti-Asian hate.”
Zia, who was portrayed in the podcast by Kelly Marie Tran (“Raya and The Last Dragon,” “The Rise of Skywalker”), also wrote, “I’m not dead yet and it’s weird hearing/seeing myself fictionalized by people who have never tried to connect with me or the Estate.”
Annie Tan, a cousin of Vincent Chin, confirmed in a Twitter thread May 27 that no one connected with “Hold Still, Vincent” had been in touch with the family (while producers on other projects have).
“I tried listening to the ‘Hold Still, Vincent’ Chin podcast (honestly the title is triggering to me as a cousin), and the disclaimer in the beginning that events were fictionalized for dramatic effects made me stop playing,” Tan wrote in part. “And it’s hard for me to say this because I want people to know my cousin Vincent Chin’s story. But I just don’t get it.”
In response, A-Major Media, a film and TV production company dedicated to championing Asian American voices, issued an apology to Zia and the Chin family on May 29 and said the podcast would be pulled from distribution. The company operates via an independent development fund from majority investor MRC in association with UTA. (Variety parent company PMC is a partner with MRC in the PMRC venture that owns Billboard, Vibe and Hollywood Reporter.)
“On behalf of the producers, we profoundly apologize to Helen Zia and the Vincent Chin Estate for our oversight during the making of ‘Hold Still, Vincent,'” A-Major Media said in an Instagram post. “We are deeply sorry to all the generous partners who came together to donate their time and bear no responsibility for our mistake — Gemma Chan, our incredible cast, QCode, Phillip Sun (M88), Carmen Cuba and Gold House — as our only motivation was to share Vincent’s story with the world. We are in contact with Helen Zia and the Vincent Chin Estate and have offered to take the podcast down. In the meantime, we are disabling the podcast out of respect for Helen and the Estate and will be guided by their wishes.”
The podcast’s episodes were removed from Spotify and Stitcher earlier week; on Friday, June 4, they were also pulled from Apple Podcasts and disabled on Amazon’s Audible.
Reps for Gemma Chan and M88 did not respond to requests for comment. QCode, the podcast studio founded by former CAA agent Rob Herting in 2019, referred to the statement by A-Major when contacted for comment.
The cast of “Hold Still, Vincent” podcast included Remy Hii (“Crazy Rich Asians,” “Spider-Man: Far From Home”) as Vincent Chin and Rosalind Chao (“Mulan,” “Better Things”) as his mother, Lily Chin. Gemma Chan portrayed lawyer Liza Chan, while David Harbour (“Stranger Things”) and Dane DeHaan (“Lisey’s Story”) played Chin’s killers. Other cast members included Benedict Wong, Noma Dumezweni, Stephanie Hsu, Ki Hong Lee, Tzi Ma, Desmond Chiam, Michael Angarano, Garrett Hedlund, Larry Clarke, Luke James, Jessica Henwick, Gillian Jacobs and Karan Kendrick.
The podcast told the story of Vincent Chin’s death and aftermath. On June 19, 1982, in Detroit, Chin was assaulted at a bar by two disgruntled white autoworkers, four days before his wedding, and he later died from his injuries. The assailants received lenient sentences and were released without spending a day in prison — leading to the first case in which the Civil Rights Act was used to defend the rights of an Asian American citizen.
“Hold Still, Vincent” was directed by Aaron and Winston Tao (“Watching,” “Sleep Well, My Baby”) with a screenplay by Johnny Ngo. Producers were Gemma Chan, Mary Lee of A-Major, and M88’s Phillip Sun with Brian Kavanaugh-Jones and Fred Berger of Automatik; QCode’s Rob Herting and Sandra Yee Ling; and Writ Large’s Bash Naran.