Photo from Ken Narasaki
A bar in the Southern Oregon town of Medford says it didn’t mean to be racist when it posted a message on its marquee advertising its “China virus” hours.
The electronic billboard from the Trophy Club drew an immediate backlash with Asian American playwright and actor Ken Narasaki sharing his opposition on social media.
“A sign that proves that racism is alive and sick in Medford, Oregon. I know from my own personal experience and from the experience of many of my Asian American friends, not to mention countless news articles that Trump’s (and others’) use of the racist term “China Virus” led directly to hatred, open hostility, and violence against Asians and Asian Americans (racists never know the difference),” he said.
Yelp quickly disabled reviews for the Trophy Club after protesters flooded the site with bad ratings.
“We are not and never have been racist, nor have our employees. The sign was not intended to be racist, ” the Trophy Club said in a statement to KTVL. “It was to make light out of the situation we all have been going through for the past year. We apologize to whoever we offended. That was not our intention.”
The club has since removed the message from its marquee, but it remains elsewhere in the club, according to KTVL.
Narasaki told The Rogue Free Press that he called the bar to explain to them why their marquee offended Asian Americans. He said the first time someone hung up on him. The second time, someone responded by speaking in a faux Asian accent.
“The guy used a terrible Asian accent and said, ‘Hong Kong Chopstick Factory. Why don’t you suck my fat white rod?'” Narasaki said to the newspaper. “It was very offensive but this guy thought he was funny.”
A reporter with the Rogue Free Press said he received a similar reaction when calling the bar himself.
“Are you a moron,” Brett Howard said at one point. “Are you from around here? Are you even f*cking married?”
Narasaki called for the bar to use its marquee to apologize to the community.
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