What you missed in Columbus for March 29

Lt. Gov. Jon Husted experiences ‘the Twitter ratio’ after labeling COVID-19 the ‘Wuhan Virus’

Andy Downing
Columbus Alive
Ohio Lt. Gov. Jon Husted pictured in Oct. 2019

On Friday, Lt. Gov. Jon Husted logged into Twitter and, well...

Unsurprisingly, the tweet was immediately ratio'd, with users on the platform calling out the racism and xenophobia inherent in the posting, the likes of which have spurred a rise in violence against the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community over the last year.

“What is most terrifying is the trickle down effect it has. When a random person on the internet calls it the Chinese Virus, I’m not as upset or worried,” Philip Kim said in an April 2020 Alive interview while discussing former president Donald Trump’s insistence on using terms like “Wuhan Virus” and “Chinese Virus,” phrases that continue to be advanced by Republican politicians in power, such as Husted. “When the person with the biggest platform in the world is spewing this kind of racism, then it’s absolutely scary. His words have a powerful effect, and they can change how history proceeds.”

In subsequent postings on the social media site, Husted attempted to qualify his initial statement, writing, “To be clear, the tweet above referred only to the Chinese GOVERNMENT.”

In the days before Husted logged on, Alive spoke with State Sen. Tina Maharath about a new bipartisan bill she helped introduce, which would create a state commission and office dedicated to Asian American and Pacific Islander affairs.

“I would hear really bad things from my own constituents and other Ohioans who weren’t comfortable enough to go to law enforcement or to their own state senator,” Maharath said. “I heard stories about people being called a virus, or being told to go back to China, or that this was their fault. … It’s not a comfortable position for anyone to be put in, and no one should feel that way. They should feel safe here, but they’re living in fear because of the color of their skin.”

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Over the weekend, the Columbus arts community mourned the death of super fan Matthew Bush.

“Very sorry to hear of the passing of Matthew Bush,” Lost Weekend owner Kyle Siegrist wrote on Facebook. “He was a huge supporter of Columbus music and pretty much anyone who did any kind of artistic creation. One of the kindest, selfless, nicest people you could ever meet. He truly was "Aces." It was an honor to know him. Columbus is a bit darker today without Matt's smile shining on it.”

Similar tributes poured in from across the music, art and film worlds, with radio stations and film festivals offering condolences and sharing stories of his dedication to the local scene.

“In a micro sense, Matt was our ace flier distributor for many years, a stalwart presence at the front of the line every Marathon Saturday morning (he would often arrive to stake out his place as early as 1 a.m.) since 1990, and a reliable occupant of the center front row seat of the theater during the show,” wrote the Ohio Science Fiction and Horror Marathons Facebook account. “But in a macro sense, he was one of the kindest souls we've ever been privileged to know, a completely selfless, giving person who relentlessly promoted the work of his friends and acquaintances, purely out of the goodness of his heart, and who was known in one way or another by seemingly everyone in the general Columbus arts scene.”

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Opening statements are set to begin today in the trial of Derek Chauvin, the Minneapolis police officer who kneeled on the neck of George Floyd for nearly nine minutes as Floyd pleaded, "I can't breathe" and "I'm about to die." Floyd's May 2020 death at Chauvin's hands kicked off months of Black lives matter protests nationwide, including here in Columbus.

Chauvin, an officer with the Minneapolis Police Department since 2001, was fired in the aftermath of Floyd's death, and has since pleaded not guilty to second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter charges.

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Nearly 15 years after Brian Shaffer disappeared from an Ohio State campus bar, authorities are still looking for answers. Recently, the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation released an age-progressed photo of Shaffer, who went missing from the since-closed Ugly Tuna Saloona on April 1, 2006, a disappearance that has since fueled countless Reddit threads, debated among true crime fanatics and wild conspiracy theories.

In the years since, Columbus has been the site of other unsolved disappearances, such as Tyler Davis, who went missing near Easton in February 2019 and whose case also remains open.

More:The disappearance of Tyler Davis and the rise of the true crime complex