Ohio TV Station Apologizes to Julie Chen Following Her 'Asian Eyes' Surgery Revelation
The "Talk" host revealed last week that she had the procedure early in her career after her then-boss made racist comments about her looks.
The Ohio TV station at the center of Julie Chen's stunning revelation that she had plastic surgery early in her career to enlarge her "Asian eyes" has issued an apology.
Chen shocked viewers with her revelation on last Wednesday's episode of The Talk, during which she admitted that workplace racism led her to develop deep insecurities about her looks at age 25. Showing side-by-side headshots of herself before and after surgery, Chen recalled being told that her looks would prevent her from furthering her career.
While working as a local news reporter in Dayton, Ohio, said Chen, her boss told her that she would never sit at the anchor desk due to her Chinese heritage.
" 'Let's face it, Julie, how relatable are you to our community? How big of an Asian community do we have in Dayton?' " Chen, now 43, recalled him saying. " 'On top of that, because of your Asian eyes, sometimes I've noticed that when you're on camera and you're interviewing someone, you look disinterested. You look bored.' "
Chen said the statement "felt like a dagger in my heart."
Following the airing of the segment -- and the massive attention the story received in the media -- the TV station issued an apology.
"We are sorry to hear about what happened to CBS' Julie Chen in 1995 when she was a reporter at WDTN-TV," Joe Abouzeid, WDTN and WBDT president and general manager said in a statement given to the Dayton Daily News. "The station was under different management and ownership during that time. At WDTN and WBDT, we don’t tolerate racism or discrimination of any kind."
WDTN, now owned by LIN Media, was owned by Hearst Corp. when Chen worked there.
Meanwhile, Chen also said she heard similar comments from a "big-time agent."
"He said, 'I cannot represent you unless you get plastic surgery to make your eyes look bigger,' " she relayed. "He then whips out a list of plastic surgeons who have done this surgery."
Chen said she had the "double eyelid surgery" -- meant to make her eyes look more open -- after discussing her options with her family. While she said she tries not to live with regret, she does struggle with her decision.
"After I had that done, the ball did roll for me," she acknowledged. "I struggle with, 'Wow, did I give in to the man and do this?' "
Sophie Schillaci contributed to this report.