NASCAR announced on Tuesday that driver Denny Hamlin must complete a sensitivity training course after posting a meme from the show Family Guy directed towards Kyle Larson. Hamlin must start the course by the end of this week, according to NASCAR.
On Monday, Hamlin tweeted a post which depicts a stereotype of female Asian driver. Hamlin intended for it to make light of an accident that Larson caused at the end of Talladega last weekend. In the post, Larson’s name is superimposed over the character.
On the final lap of the race on Sunday, Larson, who is half-Japanese and the reigning Cup Series champion, attempted to block Kurt Busch but took out both Busch and fellow 23XI driver Bubba Wallace in the process.
Here is the tweet that resulted in the NASCAR punishment.
The (now deleted) tweet that nascar just announced Denny Hamlin is being forced to take sensitivity training for…pic.twitter.com/ukpuru0bSm
— Punchface VIP (@thechovanone) April 26, 2022
Denny Hamlin released a statement on Twitter after deleting the first post.
I took down a post I made earlier today after reading some of the comments. It was a poor choice of memes and I saw how it was offensive. It came across totally wrong. I apologize.
— Denny Hamlin (@dennyhamlin) April 26, 2022
Toyota, which manufactures all cars for 23XI, released a statement late Tuesday evening saying they supported the decision to mandate sensitivity training for Hamlin.
“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.”
Here is the wording that NASCAR has in its Cup Series rule book.
“NASCAR Members shall not make or cause to be made a public statement and/or communication that criticizes, ridicules, or otherwise disparages another person based upon that person’s race, color, creed, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, marital status, religion, age, or handicapping condition.”
We will see whether Hamlin discusses the matter later this week when the NASCAR series heads to Dover International Speedway.