What happened: The Instagram Story, which was posted by Filipino American entrepreneur Rembrandt Flores, shows a group of Asian people dining at Tadaima, a new sushi restaurant located at 615 N. Western Avenue.
- In the video, Flores asked the group if they were happy to be in Tadaima instead of Yamashiro, which sits less than 15 minutes away at 1999 N. Sycamore Ave. The group, which included Lim, instantly jeered in agreement, with one of them even yelling “disgusting.”
- The video eventually reached Yamashiro’s head chef, Vallerie Castillo Archer, who expressed her disappointment in a lengthy Instagram post on Monday. In her response, Archer — who is also Filipino American and Yamashiro’s first female executive chef — identified the group as people she had “met, embraced, called a friend” and welcomed to her restaurant.
- Archer said she was told the meeting intended “to discuss how to help the Filipino community.”
- She then criticized the group’s actions and asked, “How can we promote Stop Asian Hate when we are the ones publicly hating on Asians?”
Reactions: Archer received support and encouragement from fellow Asian Americans and others who love her cooking.
- CNN journalist Xixi Yang commented, “I am horrified and devastated that you had to experience something so gut-wrenching!! I am ashamed for them!”
- “As a fellow Asian American, I see how hard you work as an amazing executive chef and loving mother,” KTLA reporter Gene Kang wrote. “As a Filipina, you’ve become a trailblazer and advocate for our AAPI community.”
- Singer Ranella Ferrer, who is also Filipino American, wrote, “Tita Val, your worth comes with no color lines hence why you’re at the top…literally you’re at the top of the hill overlooking everything, so is Yamashiro and you’re just in elevation mode. Keep going higher.”
Lim responds: Lim, a Singapore-born real estate developer, denied hating his own race and claimed that the incident was blown out of proportion.
- “It’s unfortunate this has escalated to this level. I get how it has been interpreted and am disappointed it’s been crafted into an Asian-hate thing,” he told TMZ.
- He said his comments were based on his dining experience in the past.
- Archer told TMZ that Lim was willing to visit Yamashiro again. But she said his interest “didn’t feel sincere” and she is “not looking to create a photo opportunity for him.”
- Archer claimed that she has also been bullied by others in the Asian American community. However, she is determined to stand up for herself and refuses to be “silenced or gaslighted.”
Featured Image Screenshots via @rembrandt