NASCAR's Denny Hamlin to Undergo Sensitivity Training After Tweeting Anti-Asian Meme

Denny Hamlin posted a meme using footage from the television show Family Guy to criticize fellow driver Kyle Larson, whose mother is Japanese American

Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Ground Toyota, walks through the garage area during practice for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on February 23, 2018 in Hampton, Georgia.
Photo: Jared C. Tilton/Getty

NASCAR will require driver Denny Hamlin to complete a sensitivity training course after he tweeted an anti-Asian meme in reference to a fellow driver.

According to the racing organization's website, Hamlin is required to begin the course by the end of the week. The decision follows Hamlin sending a tweet to driver Kyle Larson on Monday afternoon which included a clip from an episode of the television show, Family Guy, that features an Asian woman driving poorly, which many noted perpetuates anti-Asian stereotypes. (Larson's mother is Japanese American.)

Hamlin, who drives a Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing, deleted the post shortly after tweeting it, calling the meme a "poor choice."

"I took down a post I made earlier today after reading some of the comments," Hamlin said in a follow-up tweet.

"It was a poor choice of memes and I saw how it was offensive," he added. "It came across totally wrong. I apologize."

Kyle Larson, driver of the #42 Target Chevrolet, talks with Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Ground Toyota, during qualifying for the Monster Energy NASCAR All-Star Race at Charlotte Motor Speedway on May 19, 2017 in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Brian Lawdermilk/Getty

On Tuesday, reporter Bob Pockrass posted a statement from Toyota that said the carmaker spoke with Hamlin and supported NASCAR's response to the tweet.

"We have spoken with Denny Hamlin regarding his tweet from yesterday. Toyota supports NASCAR's decision to mandate sensitivity training for Denny and we will all move forward together," they said.

The since-deleted clip Hamlin posted spliced the Family Guy scene that referenced a stereotype about Asian drivers with footage of Larson causing a wreck at Talladega Superspeedway last Sunday.

According to ESPN, Larson tried to move up the pack during the final lap of the race through an aggressive move that ultimately caused 3XI driver Kurt Busch to crash.

The outlet said the Family Guy clip reposted by Hamlin had already been removed from streaming platforms.

Larson, too, has previously undergone sensitivity training following a 2020 incident where he was recorded using the N-word during a virtual race.

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He reflected on the experience in a lengthy letter six months later.

"Since April, I've done a lot of reflecting. I realized how little I really knew about the African American experience in this country and racism in general. Educating myself is something I should've done a long time ago, because it would've made me a better person – the kind of person who doesn't casually throw around an awful, racist word," he explained at the time.

"The kind who makes an effort to understand the hate and oppression it symbolizes and the depth of pain it has caused Black people throughout history and still to this day," Larson added. "It was past time for me to shut up, listen and learn."

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