A restaurateur in New York City has reportedly apologized for — and fired — an employee who wrote “Ching Chong” on an Asian woman’s receipt in place of her name.
Ziggy Chau, a friend of the woman’s daughter, first posted a photo of the receipt to Facebook last week, decrying the “racist staff” and urging the Facebook community to boycott the establishment.
“Please boycott this place Cornerstone Cafe NYC until they publicly apologize,” wrote Chau alongside a picture of the receipt, which clearly reads “Ching Chong” under both the “to go” and “customer name” sections. “Better yet, call them directly and let them know they have a racist staff,” Chau added.
Chau also urged the Asian community to share her post “in light of what is happening here in the USA,” adding that President Trump has seemingly “ma[d]e it OK to come out and be blatantly racist.”
Later that evening, Chau phoned the Cornerstone Cafe to complain, but claimed that the manager, Rocco, suggested that his server must have misheard the woman’s name when she was taking down the order. Chau, however, informed him that “Ching Chong” was a derogatory term for Asians, and asked him to apologize on social media.
Chau’s efforts appeared to work, seeing as Rocco apologized on Cornerstone Café’s Facebook page by 11:30 p.m. The post is no longer available on the restaurant’s Facebook page, but a screengrab posted to Shanghaiist confirms that Rocco apologized and terminated the offending employee.
“As manager, I take full responsibility and I humbly ask for forgiveness for all who got offended,” Rocco wrote.
“This act is not acceptable and I thank you for bringing it to my attention. This behavior will not be tolerated,” he added.
But it appears that even despite Rocco’s prompt apology, the restaurant’s reputation has already suffered on Yelp. As of Wednesday morning, Cornerstone Café’s page had been updated with several unflattering reviews, forcing Yelp to issue an “Active Cleanup Alert” in an effort to stem any posts that appear to be more motivated by news events than recent dining experiences.
However, the Cornerstone Café is not without its supporters. In a review posted to the restaurant’s Facebook page, a woman claiming to be a friend of the owner’s defended him as a “stand up human,” and wrote that he “should not be punished for an individual employee’s bad choices.”
Chau, too, wrote in her Facebook post that she does not wish for the restaurant to close.
“There are many people that are employed by the restaurant whose livelihoods depend on their jobs there and should not suffer because ONE IGNORANT employee thought it was OK to make a racist remark,” she wrote.
In any case, Chau thanked her friends, followers and community for supporting her cause, and urged that they continue to stand up against injustice.
“Asians clearly have a lot of work to do in terms of speaking up,” she wrote in her latest update to the original Facebook post. “We should also not be afraid or fear speaking out for other people, too because racism against ANY one group of people is WRONG and it is EVERYONE'S issue!”