Wildflower, a popular nightclub in Toronto, Canada, sparked outrage after leaked images of an Asian-themed event on Sunday night went viral online.
One of the staff members at the establishment was photographed wearing an Asian farmer’s hat and fake facial hair while squinting his eyes during their so-called “Stir Fry” event, reports Toronto Sun.
Two other servers at the club, located in the basement of the Thompson Hotel on Wellington St. W., were also captured on photos wearing kimonos with chopsticks in their hair.
Netizens who came across the images on Instagram posted angry comments, with many accusing Wildflower and its employees of racism.
Among those who expressed their disgust over the images was Local DJ Freeza Chin:
Josephine Cruz, aka DJ JAYEMKAYEM, and Kid Studio producer Julian Nieva also thought the costume was problematic.
As the backlash mounted, Wildflower reportedly posted four apology posts on Instagram, some of which were deleted after being flooded with hateful comments.
One of the statements read:
“Thank you to everyone who gave us feedback about the inappropriate and offensive behavior of a couple of our staff members this past weekend. We in no way condone racism and the actions taken by these individuals is not reflective of our values at Wildflower. It is never our intention to offend anyone and we are deeply sorry to anyone that this affected. Appropriate action will be taken with the individuals responsible.”
Another statement, which was more direct, was left on Instagram:
“On behalf of Wildflower, we apologize. We executed poor judgment in the event concept and in our response afterwards. We will use this as an example to do better and think more carefully about our actions.”
It did not take long for the comment section to be filled with unconvinced netizens who refused to buy the non-apology, and a handful of apologists who took the time to defend the club.
Here’s to hoping the club will have actually learned something about celebrating other cultures with respect.