Coffee Business Owners Fight on Twitter Over the ‘Racist’ Use of a Lego Geisha Image

Two coffee business owners have engaged in a Twitter spat that spiraled after one called out the other for using an image of a Lego geisha in an old blog post.

Jeff Borack, co-founder of Angels’ Cup, wrote an article about the “most expensive coffee on Earth,” the “Panama Geisha,” in June 2015.

Jeff Borack and his wife, Abby. Image via Instagram / angelscup

Nick Cho, co-founder of Wrecking Ball Coffee Roasters, appears to have stumbled upon the post only recently and shared it on Twitter.

As seen in Cho’s tweet, the link to Borack’s article shows an image of a Lego geisha in the thumbnail, although it appears unavailable in the actual text.

Nicholas “Nick” Cho. Image via Instagram / nickcho_

Cho called out Borack for his “racist bulls**t.”

“What the f**k is wrong with you? You think that the Lego geisha imagery is funny? How many people have to point out your racist bulls**t before you fix it? Seriously, how stupid are you?”

Two days later, Borack replied to Cho’s “hateful cyber-bullying” with a picture of his family — and pointed out that his wife is Asian.

“Sorry I didn’t respond to your hateful cyber-bullying sooner, I was enjoying the weekend with my immigrant partner (and Angels’ Cup co-founder) Abby and our son Benjamin.”

Before things escalated, some users sought more information regarding the issue.

But few mocked Borack for insinuating that he was not racist because he is married to an Asian woman.

The row went on as Cho responded to Borack’s use of his family picture and shared an email the latter sent out to the public.

The tweet also includes Cho’s explanation of how using a geisha image becomes problematic.

“Who the f**k responds to a tweet about how something you posted was racist by parading a pic of your f**king family and referring to your wife ‘my immigrant partner’? Do you actually think this is a good look?”

“I’m not engaging in a dialogue with this white man, I have many more important things to do. But I will share his ‘I asked the roaster community’ email he sent out, where he whined about not being racist (btw where did I call him racist? This is peak white fragility).”

“He also started his ‘my wife is Asian’ thing, then says he’s just ignorant, then he whines about REVERSE RACISM, he whines that I’m bullying him, then he asks for someone to come to his defense or reach out to me.

“Nobody defended him, nobody reached out to me. So he was left with posting a pic of his ‘immigrant partner’ as some sort of evidence or argument. *sigh* Thing is, there was a small misunderstanding initially on my part and I was admittedly a bit heavy handed.

“But the way this played out has only served to reveal all that has been revealed. Good luck with your thing, whateveryournameis. Sorry about that ignorance of yours.”

As seen in Borack’s email, he claimed that he did not know it was “offensive” to post a picture of a Lego geisha.

He then argued that it was “racist” to send a message to “white coffee people” as it isolates a group of people by race.

“If Nick had a problem with the image and reached out privately to explain why, I would have been happy to listen and have a conversation about it. Bullying people on social media is a sh*tty way to make a point, and a first impression,” Borack finished.

Cho’s follow-up tweet received a slew of replies.

Some slammed Borack for pulling the Asian wife card.

Comedian Jenny Yang, who started her own thread, pointed out that racism is a phenomenon independent of itself.

But others criticized Cho for the sloppy way of addressing the situation.

Another coffee business, West Coffee Roasting, branched out to compare the criticism on Borack to Cho being pictured with women of color.

“Holy f**king shit. So @WCRcoffee is officially the most racist coffee twitter I’ve personally ever seen. I am censoring this pic to protect the black woman who this d*ckhead just compared to ‘the house help’ but wtf,” Cho commented in another tweet.

A screenshot of West Coast Roasting’s tweet. Image via Twitter / @NickCho

West Coffee Roasting then questioned Cho whether more racism is simply the correct response to racism, and referred to another tweet to make his point.

It is unclear if the issue has been settled privately between Cho and Borack or if it will ever be.

Amid all the exchange, however, Borack’s wife Abby answered Cho’s question of whether their picture is a “good look.”

“Yes I’d say it’s a good look. Better than typing in all caps, and better than starting a message with ‘dear white people.’ Really disappointed in you and your company. Heard good things about wrecking ball and inspired by your wife.”

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