A bar in Oregon has drawn backlash over its use of anti-Asian message on its electronic billboard.
The Trophy Club in Medford recently advertised its “China virus” hours on its marquee signage and it caught the attention of playwright and actor Ken Narasaki, reports AsAm News.
Narasaki immediately took to Facebook to condemn the racist post, noting its impact on Asians and Asian Americans.
“A sign that proves that racism is alive and sick in Medford, Oregon,” he wrote. “I know from my own personal experience and from the experience of many of my Asian American friends, not to mention countless news articles that Trump’s (and others’) use of the racist term “China Virus” led directly to hatred, open hostility, and violence against Asians and Asian Americans (racists never know the difference).”
In an interview with the Rogue Free Press, Narasaki shared that he also called the bar to explain why the message can be offensive to Asian Americans.
However, Narasaki claims someone hung up on him on his first try and in the second, the person on the other line mocked him using a fake Asian accent.
“The guy used a terrible Asian accent and said, ‘Hong Kong Chopstick Factory. Why don’t you suck my fat white rod?’” Narasaki was quoted as saying. “It was very offensive but this guy thought he was funny.”
A Rogue Free Press reporter also tried calling the bar but allegedly received a similarly hostile response.
Many expressed their anger towards the Trophy Club by flooding its Yelp page with bad reviews, prompting the site to quickly disable the review functionality.
Responding to the controversy, the business issued a statement to KTVL that denies their intention to be racist.
“We are not and never have been racist, nor have our employees. The sign was not intended to be racist,” noted the statement. “It was to make light out of the situation we all have been going through for the past year. We apologize to whoever we offended. That was not our intention.”
While the club has removed the message from its marquee, it reportedly can be seen elsewhere inside the establishment.