A social media influencer says she was told to “go back to Wuhan” in what she described as an unprovoked racist attack from a random diner at a California restaurant.
Sophia Chang, a Korean American entrepreneur with nearly 850,000 YouTube followers, was eating at the Bluewater Grill in Newport Beach with her sister Robin on Sunday (local time) where she alleges a middle-aged male passed their table and unleashed a racist tirade.
“This man made direct eye contact with us and said ‘go back to Wuhan’ as he headed to the bathroom,” she explained to her more than 539,000 followers on Instagram while sharing a video of the man in the wake of his alleged comments.
The alleged remark is in reference to the Chinese city where transmission of coronavirus was first detected, rapidly spreading among its residents in January.
Chang said the man continued his verbal spray after they called him out on his comments.
“Once he returned, we asked him why he would say that and he goes ‘I don’t speak Chinese, I don’t know what you’re talking about’.
“I’m so disgusted,” she wrote.
In the video shared, the man can be seen remonstrating with the women and an employee, telling them he has “no idea what she’s talking about”, before returning to his nearby table.
“That’s so f***** up,” one of the Chang sisters says, as they inform an employee of the interaction and threaten to leave if he isn’t removed from the restaurant.
The female worker says she will “handle it” and is seen approaching the man’s table before the video ends.
The alleged behaviour was slammed by hundreds online while other influencers chimed in.
Vlogger Jenn Im called the incident “inexcusable”.
Bluewater Grill later took to its Facebook page to reveal it had removed the man from the restaurant and stating that he is no longer welcome at the establishment.
“We do not condone prejudice or racism in any form. This includes remarks made by customers which we cannot control. We take matters like this seriously and are disgusted that any guest would be subjected to an insensitive remark by another guest,” the restaurant said in a statement.
Chang has since identified a man she believes to be involved in the incident.
Yahoo News Australia has contacted the individual for comment regarding the allegations.
The man’s employer, Prudential, told Yahoo News Australia the matter will be investigated.
“Prudential has zero tolerance for discrimination and takes these allegations very seriously. This matter will be thoroughly investigated and appropriate action will be taken, as warranted,” the company said.
In her follow up post Chang said there had been an increase in “hateful acts” towards Asian Americans in the wake of the pandemic.
“It doesn’t help that our president called Covid-19 the ‘Chinese virus’,” she said.
Chang said US President Donald Trump’s remarks had encouraged people to feel “invincible” and that they can “get away with racial harassment”.
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