Authorities in San Ramon east of San Francisco want the public’s help in tracking down a suspect seen harassing two Korean Americans with racist and homophobic slurs.
It happened at an In-N-Out, a fast food restaurant in California and five other states on Christmas Eve.
The two friends can be seen in their TikTok video enjoying their In N Out burger, videotaping a vlog about their experience. That’s when an unidentified man comes up to them.
“Are you filming yourself eating? You are weird homesexuals.” Arine Kim and her friend Elliot Ha reacted in disbelief, with Kim’s jaw dropping and Ha almost keeling over in nervous laughter.
“Did that really happen?” Ha asked Kim.
“That really happened,” she responds.
Later the man comes back.
“Are you Filipino or Korean?” this time the man wonders.
“I’m Korean,” Ha says.
“That’s what I thought. You’re Kim Jong Um’s boyfriend?”
“We have been acquainted.”
“You had gay sex with him?”
“I would not go that far. We only got to second base. He hasn’t taken me out to dinner yet. Can I take you out to dinner”
At that point, Kim interrupts, imploring Ha to stop egging the man on.
Later in an interview with ABC7 via Zoom, Kim explained why the two are going public with their encounter.
“I’ve heard people call me a chink or go back to your country or a dog eater and I brush it off.. the situation just escalated very quickly and if I were by myself I’d be a lot more anxious and lot more scared. I was appreciative of his humor in the moment. ” she says.
The two said the man stood outside waiting for them to come out…so they stayed until the restaurant closed and later asked the staff to escort them out to make sure he wasn’t outside.
“I’m one of those people who have experienced Asian Hate or attacks on POC on social media,” Ha said. “Through that lens it feels pretty fake it’s really detached from your current situation. This has genuinely never happened to me before. It’s the realization this is real and that affects people you know, you love, that are close to you. That’s why people are finding ways to spread awareness because it’s an issue that does matter. It’s a real thing and people need to be aware of it.”
While the two stayed calm during the incident, it clearly affected the both of them. The emotions for Kim came out during an interview with NBC Bay Area.
“I think also with the model minority myth, a lot of people don’t take these kinds of situations very seriously,” Kim said while wiping tears from her eyes.
“We happened to handle the situation relatively well, but had it been anyone else, had someone actually wanted to fight, had someone been older than me or weaker than me or whatever it might be, it is really heartbreaking,” Kim said, “I think that reality really sunk in for me, especially just kind of watching it back on the video.”
According to KRON4, Police Chief Denton Carlson has seen the video on social media and reached out to the two. Carlson has since released a photo of the suspect in his car. He says that photo was taken Christmas morning when the man engaged in “similar behavior” to what happened Christmas Eve.
He was driving a silver Mustang with Florida license plates.
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