A Japanese food court restaurant has received criticism after a viral TikTok video showed two Black patrons being denied service due to their race.
TikTok user Labella Monay filmed the video at Nori Japan, located in the Fox Valley Mall in Aurora, Illinois. It appears that the Asian cook on duty had refused service to her sister because another Black person stole food from the restaurant earlier that day.
“You can’t do that, sir. That’s discrimination,” Monay says in the video. “You can’t tell her you’re not going to serve her cause she’s Black, because of what someone else did today.”
“You people no pay money,” the man, whose first language does not appear to be English, replies. He repeats this phrase multiple times throughout the video, even after Monay states she can pay the price of the meal.
“What does that have to do with us?” Monay replies. “I don’t know what you’re talking about, sir. We’re not affiliated with them.”
Though the cook’s words while Monay was speaking are not clearly audible, he can be heard saying “you all have same face, I don’t know who.” When @labellemonay asked him to confirm he said that, he replied “yes.”
“Don’t ever come back here, ever,” Monay says towards the end of the video.
Viewers were swift to criticize the cook’s actions in the comments section. “He is 100% in the wrong.. he refused to listen,” wrote user Sasa. Other commentators who identified as Asian agreed. “I’m half Asian and I’m sick of my people DEFENDING people like him just cuz he’s old and doesn’t speak English much. He’s a grown adult,” wrote Lucho Ruiz. User walmartgoblin3 also wrote: “As an Asian [person] I would like to apologize (for) his actions. You handled that situation professionally.”
The video also lead to an influx of one-star Yelp reviews that cited the TikTok as the reason for the low ratings. The restaurant’s overall rating has dropped to 1.5 stars, and Yelp has disabled further reviews due to the “increase in public attention”
Some TikTok posters sympathized with the cook. User Joharra Joseph, for instance, commented “He’s wrong but I also understand him. This man is traumatized and hurt. Understanding should come from both sides.”
However, many top comments criticized other users for defending the cook. “Why r ppl in the comments defending him🧍,” TikToker Bred wrote. These sentiments were echoed by commentator Ro, who wrote “the fact people are defending him 🤦♂️ I’m so sorry,” and BoB, who commented “Ain’t no way some of yall are defending him.”
Monay posted a follow-up video responding to a comment from Aidan_sn07 who stated “He has the right to refuse service.” Monay cited the Civil Rights Act of 1964 in response to Aidan_sn07’s comment. In a voiceover, she says “It’s very disheartening that, at this point at 2021, people don’t understand why the Civil Rights Act was enacted, and that is to prohibit any form of segregation or discrimination based on race, color.”
Later in the video, she continues: “It’s really scary that a lot of you guys don’t understand what it means, and it means that you can’t deny service to anyone based on these reasons, and that’s what this guy did.”
Fox Valley Mall provided a statement to the Daily Dot on December 30th, stating that the business “does not condone any form of discrimination.”
“The owner-operator of Nori Japan has informed us that the employee involved in the incident has been terminated. He has also personally called the customers and regrets any negative impact this past employee’s personal behavior has caused. Nori Japan is closed for business until further notice.”
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