Hooters Worker Wrote Anti-Asian Slur on Customers' Receipt
By Kiratiana Freelon on September 11, 2012 12:01pm
QUEENS — A Fresh Meadows Hooters staffer resigned after using an anti-Asian slur to refer to a Korean-American customer on a take-out order receipt, humiliating the victim and his girlfriend, according to a new lawsuit and the restaurant.
Kisuk Cha, of Philadelphia, and 27-year-old Dayoung Choi, who he was visiting and is also of Korean descent, went to the Hooters at 61-09 190th St. to place an order of Buffalo shrimp and 10-piece chicken wings on July 1.
While they waited, they noticed that "several other employees were gawking and giggling at them," the suit, filed Monday in Brooklyn Federal Court, claims.
When the workers handed over their food, 25-year-old Cha — a recently naturalized citizen — noticed the word "CHINX" all in caps typed on the reciept, "presumably a plural form of what’s widely known as the 'N' word for Asians," according to the court papers.
"I'm happy to be a citizen, but I was so offended," said Cha, who works in information technology. "This isn't what I got my citizenship for — to be treated like this."
Ed McCabe, a lawyer who represents the franchise owners, confirmed that the receipt was printed at the Fresh Meadows eatery. He said human resources interviewed the waitress whose name was on the offending receipt, but she denied entering the word.
However, another young woman who was working that night stepped forward to admit responsibility and resigned immediately.
"She was told that it violated company policy," McCabe said. "She resigned on the spot."
He declined to name the woman but said that it was an "isolated event conducted by 20-year-old employee."
"It's very difficult, as you know, when you have employees that are very young," he added.
After the discovery, the store scoured three months of past receipts to see if there were any other cases of racism but found none, McCabe added.
"We do look for patterns and we do look for misconduct," he said.
Hooters' corporate office did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
According to court papers filed by Cha's lawyer, Daniel Baek, Cha didn't confront the server because he was "paralyzed with anguish."
"He could not eat the food he had just bought as his stomach was churning and he could not be sure that someone did not spit in his food," the documents said. "He was so overwhelmed that he just wanted to go to bed to sleep, but was too angry to do so."
And according to the court papers, the Seoul native said that the ordeal continues to "haunt" him.
Monday's filing is not the only recent allegation of anti-Asian racism in restaurants.
In January, 24-year-old Minhee Cho was described as "lady chinky eyes" on a Hamilton Heights Papa John's receipt, the Daily News first reported.