HomeAsian AmericansJenny Yang and Harry Shum Jr. join #TakeOutHate campaign to stop closure...

Jenny Yang and Harry Shum Jr. join #TakeOutHate campaign to stop closure of Asian restaurants

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Now’s the time for all good men and women to come to the aid of their Chinese and other Asian restaurants and order chow mein, bulgogi, sushi, adobo, pad thai, chicken tikka masala, etc.

Order some take out food. Specifically, if you have a favorite go-to restaurant, order some food to be delivered or to pick up. 

A new campaign to help Asian restaurants during this time, actor Harry Shum Jr., comedian Jenny Yang and other celebrities have come together to launch the #TakeOutHate campaign. The initiative, launched by Asian seasonings and food company Ajinomoto on Thursday,  encourages the public to order from Asian restaurants and share photos of their meals on social media with the hashtag #TakeOutHate.

As COVID-19 spread, so did an increase in violence and hateful rhetoric against Asian Americans. This stigma also contributed to an unprecedented drop in sales and closures of Chinese restaurants at twice the rate of any other restaurant category. 

“As a company that champions fairness and better livelihoods for all, we are launching #TakeOutHate to support Asian-owned restaurants that are facing unfair adversity during this crisis,” the company said in a statement.

In a recently released video, Shum and Yang, along with celebrity chef Gail Simmons and comedian Margaret Cho, urge viewers to fight anti-Asian discrimination by buying takeout from Asian businesses.

“Restaurants across the country are struggling, but Chinese restaurants? They’re closing at double the rate of others, as if we need to hear any more f***ed up stats right now,” they say in the video. “The Asian American community is being singled out. Asian restaurants are being defaced coast to coast.”

Once so prolific, almost every small hamlet in the US had its Chinese restaurant. But, because of the stay-at-home policies to prevent the further spread of Covid-19, almost 50% of Chinese restaurants have closed down.

Since the outbreak of COVID-19, all Asian restaurants have been closing at an alarming rate. Hateful rhetoric and acts of discrimination, fueled by unfounded fear, is impacting Asian Americans and their businesses, leading to an unprecedented drop in sales and closures at twice the rate of any other restaurant category.

About 58% of independent Chinese restaurants nationwide had ceased operations as of April 15 — far outpacing other cuisine categories at the time, according to data subscription service Womply. That alarming closure rate dropped to 26% as of May 16, according to Womply’s latest data. To participate, simply order delicious takeout from your favorite local Asian restaurant, and before you dig in, share a photo of your meal with #TakeOutHate to help spread the cause. While you’re at it, tag the restaurant’s location and your friends to encourage further support.

“Our identity is often equated with Chinese takeout or Asian food, you know?” Yang told In The Know. “To me, supporting restaurant workers, supporting Asian restaurants not only preserves the cuisine that we love so much, but it also shows a level of support for Asian American communities, Asian diaspora communities during a time where, frankly, anti-Asian racism has been amplified.”

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