Maura Moynihan, 53, of New York City, New York, United States verbally harassed her neighbors Dan Lee, 31, and Maria Ha, 25, on March 14, 2021. According to Ha, she was alone at 23rd Street and First Avenue in Manhattan, New York City when Moynihan approached her just before 1:30 p.m. that day.
Both Lee and Ha, who are a couple, are Korean American. Moynihan was born in Albany, New York to the late politician and diplomat Daniel Patrick Moynihan and writer Elizabeth Moynihan.
“‘You’re not from here,'” Maura allegedly told Ha. “‘You’re from China, aren’t you? Go back to China, (expletive)’ is what she said.”
Ha ran home. When she returned with her husband, Maura was getting into a cab.
Lee then opened the door of the cab and confronted Maura, who allegedly accused him of assaulting her. She allegedly yelled at him and his wife, “Go back to (expletive) communist China you, (expletive).”
At the time, Maura was wearing face mask bearing the name The Colony, a performing arts theater in Woodstock. It turns out she had no association with the establishment and the owners condemned her racist remarks.
“Regarding the horrible incident in NYC where a woman in a taxi cab engaged in a racist, hate-filled anti-Asian tirade towards a couple, while wearing a mask from our establishment: Please understand the Colony has absolutely no connection with this person in any way shape or form other than she happens to be wearing one of our masks,” The Colony owners stated. “We find her attitude, words and actions to be absolutely abhorrent and sickening.”
Lee and Ha were able to record their encounter with Maura. Grace Meng took to Twitter to share the video.
On March 16, 2021, Maura deleted her social media accounts. On March 17, 2021, she admitted to Eyewitness News that she is the woman seen in the video.
“It had nothing whatsoever to do with any bias or racism or anti-Asian American prejudice as has been wrongly suggested,” Maura told the publication. She added that she has devoted most of her life to “working with and for Asian people, most particularly in the cause of securing basic human rights for the Tibetan people in their continuing struggle against Communist China.”