Before you read:
A pair of friends became the targets of racist and homophobic comments from a man who claimed to be a “slave master” at an In-N-Out location in San Ramon, California, on Christmas Eve.
The friends, identified as Arine Kim and Elliot Ha, caught the offensive remarks in a now-viral TikTok video. The duo were filming themselves when the man — also a customer — approached and began taunting them.
“Are you guys filming yourselves eating?” the man said behind the camera. “You’re weird homosexuals.”
Kim and Ha continued to record themselves after the shock of the encounter. But as it turned out, the brazen customer was not done yet.
“Are you Japanese or Korean?” the man asked. Ha replied that he is Korean.
“You’re Kim Jong-un’s boyfriend? You had gay sex before,” the man subsequently alleged.
Ha jokingly responded to the man’s questions until the latter threatened to spit on their faces.
“Normally I could spit on your face. That’s some Filipino sh*t,” the man claimed. “You want some Filipino sh*t?”
The friends attempted to ignore the man and continue filming themselves, but he was not finished.
“I’m a slave master, you f*cking pig,” the man said. “See you outside in a minute. See you outside and what I can do to him.”
Kim, who tried to de-escalate the situation, said the man continued to stare at them from outside through a window. She said she tried to act natural and avoid eye contact.
The friends waited until the restaurant closed before going for the exit. Employees also watched over them as they walked to their cars, and by then, the man was gone.
“Honestly, if I didn’t record it, I wouldn’t have believed that it happened because, even some of the words he said, in the heat of the moment, I didn’t realize he called himself a slave master. I completely blanked out [as] he threatened to spit on us as well,” Kim, who is also Korean American, told KTVU.
The viral TikTok post caught the attention of San Ramon Police Chief Denton Carlson, who has since initiated contact with Kim and Ha. On Sunday afternoon, Carlson tweeted a photo of a man driving a silver Mustang with Florida license plates, saying he exhibited “similar behavior” in another incident that morning.
At around 11 a.m., a woman named Abigail Hailili experienced a similar attack from a man outside a Danville store, according to KGO. She recalled her family waiting for coffee when the man “kept trying to spit at us” and subsequently called them “Filipino idiots.”
San Ramon police are asking the public’s help in identifying and finding the man/men. Both encounters are being investigated as “hate-motivated incidents.”
Ha said he hopes their experience sheds light on the reality of Asian hate.
“For every act caught on camera, there are hundreds that go unchecked, so I am hoping more awareness is brought to this,” he told NBC Bay Area.