A video of a man racially abusing diners at a restaurant in Carmel Valley, California over the holiday weekend has gone viral after it was retweeted by “The Voice” judge Kelly Clarkson. Jordan Chan originally shared the video on Instagram on July 6, showing the man cursing and gesturing with his middle finger at the family at the Bernardus Lodge and Spa’s Lucia restaurant.
Chan said the man “relentlessly harassed” her family while they were celebrating her aunt’s birthday.
“Trump’s gonna f*** you! You fers need to leave… fing Asian piece of s**t,” the man is heard saying to Chan’s family in the clip.
A waitress at the restaurant is seen stepping in and ordering the man to leave.
“You do not talk to our guests like that. Get out now,” she is heard saying. “They are valued guests. You are not allowed here ever again.”
Chan said, “I’ve dealt with racism as well, but never on that scale. Never on that level to the point where somebody completely unprovoked felt obligated to voice out their hatred for absolutely no reason, just because they’re filled with that much hatred and because what, because we’re different skin color.”
The verbal abuser has been identified as Michael Lofthouse, CEO of tech startup Solid8. In a statement to ABC7 News in San Francisco, Lofthouse said his “behavior in the video is appalling.”
“This was clearly a moment where I lost control and made incredibly hurtful and divisive comments,” Lofthouse said. “I would like to deeply apologize to the Chan family. I can only imagine the stress and pain they feel. I was taught to respect people of all races, and I will take the time to reflect on my actions and work to better understand the inequality that so many of those around me face every day.”
Lofthouse did not respond to ABC7’s question about his role at Solid8.
Lofthouse’s company is based in the Bay Area. Meanwhile, a British company with almost the identical name, Solid8 Consulting Ltd., has been receiving hate mail from people believing Lofthouse is the CEO of that company.
“It appears that my company, Solid8 Consulting Ltd, is being incorrectly attacked for racism and hatred,” owner Emma Jones says in a statement on the company’s web page, adding, “We would never condone this type of behaviour.”
In a statement from the restaurant where the incident occurred, Vice President and GM of Bernardus, Sean Damery, said, “This is an extremely unfortunate situation, however, we are proud of our staff at Lucia in keeping with Bernardus Lodge’s core values. This incident was handled swiftly and the diner was escorted off property without further escalation. We provide guests with a safe environment for lodging and dining, and extend our sincere apologies to the guests enjoying a birthday celebration on a holiday weekend.”
Lofthouse immigrated to the United States in 2010, from the UK. According to his now-deleted LinkedIn page, he graduated from Newcastle Business School in England, and worked for Hewlett-Packard and IBM. Lofthouse’s Twitter page has been suspended due to a violation of Twitter’s rules.
In July 2016, Lofthouse was found guilty of vandalism and sentenced to two days in prison, three years probation, and 80 hours of community service. As a result of the case, Lofthouse also had a restraining order placed upon him. Lofthouse had also been facing charges of domestic battery and the destruction of telephone lines. Those charges were dismissed.
Asian Americans in California have reported 832 incidents of discrimination and harassment in the last three months as the coronavirus stoked racial tension, according to a summary by the coalition Stop AAPI Hate. The incidents listed in the study released last week were self-reported and included 81 assaults and 64 potential civil rights violations.
The Stop AAPI Hate reporting center was established by the Asian Pacific Policy and Planning Council, Chinese for Affirmative Action, and San Francisco State University’s Asian American Studies Department.
To report a hate incident, go to stopaapihate.org.