The Covid-19 pandemic has brought out the worst in almost every facet of life, ranging from healthcare to shopping, and has now revealed its clutches on the world of art too. Where graffiti is seen predominantly as a medium of rebellion against corrupt systems and a form of expression of radical beliefs, it has now turned into cheap vandalism, as proven by the incident reported in Mecklenburg County, North Carolina.

Zheng Zheng Wiley, a real estate agent who has been a victim of vandalism before, said that the most recent incident was the worst one yet and most certainly a byproduct of the pandemic. Her business sign was spray painted with an ethnic slur aimed at people of Chinese descent, which was reported immediately by a community member to the police. Mecklenburg County Commissioner Susan Rodriguez-McDowell has spoken out against such “racist hate graffiti” and said, in reference to Donald Trump’s statements linking the coronavirus to China, “The tone that comes from the top is setting the table for this kind of action.”

However, as word spreads over Facebook about Wiley’s unpleasant experience, she received support from hundreds and even a few major donations to contribute to a new sign for her business. In her words, “This pandemic should pull us together instead of pulling us apart.” She plans on contributing the rest of the donations to charity, having had her sign cleaned up.