Kisuk Cha, a Korean-American man, is suing a Queens Hooters after a worker identified him and his girlfriend using a racial slur, NBC New York reports.
25-year-old Cha and his 27-year-old girlfriend Dayoung Choi, who is also a Korean immigrant, placed a to-go order at a Hooters in Fresh Meadows on July 10. They saw the hostess and another employee “gawking at them” and giggling at something on the computer. In the spot reserved for the customer’s name on the receipt, they noticed the word “Chinx,” a slur against Asians.
Daniel D. Baek, the couple’s lawyer, said:
“Here we are in Fresh Meadows, and we have large populations of Asian Americans — Korean Americans, Chinese Americans, Indian Americans, you name it. It’s happening right here in Fresh Meadows. I’m shocked.”
Cha said he lost his appetite and threw the food away when he got home. Baek told TheNew York Times the incident has “continued to cause [Cha] mental anguish,” and that he is “haunted by the ridiculing giggles and stares of his persecutor.”
Nicole Conboy, director of human resources for the company that owns the Fresh Meadows restaurant, said the company launched an internal investigation after being informed about the incident. Conboy said the 17-year-old hostess admitted to writing the slur and resigned immediately.
This isn’t the first case of a restaurant getting in trouble for racial discrimination. In January, a Papa John’s in Manhattan apologized after one of its employees wrote “lady chinky eyes” on an Asian customer’s receipt. The employee was immediately dismissed.
Kisuk Cha, who emigrated from Korea in 2000 and lives in Philadelphia, said, “Recently I got my US citizenship and I realized, like, this isn’t something I expected when I became a US citizen.” Cha’s lawsuit names Hooters of America and the owners of the Fresh Meadows franchise, as well as two employees. He is seeking unspecified damages for violations to his “federal, state and common law rights.”