Christine Sun Kim is speaking out after feeling snubbed during her American Sign Language performance of the National Anthem and “America the Beautiful” at Super Bowl LIV on Sunday.
In an opinion piece published by The New York Times on Monday, the 40-year-old performer, known professionally as Ms. Kim, shared an impassioned message about the discrimination she felt directed her way on game day.
“As a child of immigrants, a grandchild of refugees, a Deaf woman of color, an artist and a mother, I was proud to perform the national anthem and ‘America the Beautiful’ in American Sign Language at the opening of the Super Bowl on Sunday,” she wrote.
“On what was supposed to be a ‘bonus feed’ dedicated to my full performance on the Fox Sports website, the cameras cut away to show close-ups of the players roughly midway through each song,” she wrote.
“Why have a sign language performance that is not accessible to anyone who would like to see it? It’s 2020,” she continued.
Fox Sports did not immediately respond to a request for comment from PEOPLE.
Marlee Matlin, an actress who is deaf and “has signed the anthem at three Super Bowls (in 1993, 2007 and 2016),” rallied behind Kim by sharing a video of her own on Twitter during the game.
To ALL networks: next time at #SuperBowl when the signer like @chrisunkim is performing #NationalAnthem & America the Beautiful they should be on the broadcast the WHOLE time, not a few seconds. SHOW the beauty of ASL either in a bubble, split screen or next to singer It’s time! pic.twitter.com/C9gKykgZAI— Marlee Matlin (@MarleeMatlin) February 3, 2020
“I thought the same. I was looking forward to watching that signing. Very disappointing!” one person responded. “Yes! I was disappointed they didn’t show her beautiful work throughout the whole song,” another added.
“You are a tireless advocate for equity [sic] and I applaud you for calling them out on this!!!!” a third person wrote.
RELATED VIDEO: Jennifer Lopez Reveals the Special Moment She Shared with Daughter Emme Before Super Bowl Show
One Twitter user called for action to be taken, writing: “Let’s take this one step further by recommending them that the ASL signer should be side by side with the other performer.”
Throughout Kim’s emotional op-ed, she expressed the hurt she felt following her performance.
“Being deaf in America has always been political, and I needed to process some internal conflict before accepting,” she wrote. “I knew that some musical artists had refused opportunities to perform at the game last year in support of Colin Kaepernick. I wondered whether I should do the same.”
“I thought of the deaf people who had been mistreated or killed by police,” Kim added. “I thought about Robert Kim, a deaf man who was beaten and tasered in 2012 by a police officer in a St. Louis suburb; and Daniel Kevin Harris, who was shot and killed in 2016 by a North Carolina state trooper; and two Oklahoma men, Pearl Pearson, who was badly beaten by police officers in 2014, and Magdiel Sanchez, who was shot and killed by police in front of his home in Oklahoma City in 2017.”
The performer concluded her piece with a call to action.
“I had hoped to provide a public service for deaf viewers, and believed that my appearance might raise awareness of the systemic barriers and the stigmas attached to our deafness — and move some people to action,” she wrote. “I hope that despite the failure of Fox to make the performance accessible to all, it did do that.”
“What kind of action? My parents took action by learning to sign for my Deaf sister and me. This made us feel seen and respected,” she explained. “Today, I’m teaching my hearing child to sign as well. Respecting all languages and identities can only lead to better laws and a higher quality of life. Signing the anthem was a way to celebrate my language.”