SAN RAMON, Calif. (AP) — Prosecutors have charged a Colorado man with a misdemeanor hate crime offense after he allegedly targeted two young adults of Asian descent with racist and homophobic comments last week as they recorded a TikTok food review video at an In-N-Out Burger restaurant in Northern California.
The incident occurred Dec. 24 in the San Francisco Bay Area city of San Ramon. The viral video, which now has more than 4 million views, prompted police to open an investigation.
Jordan Douglas Krah, 40, of Denver, was arrested on Dec. 26, and prosecutors filed charges against him on Dec. 29. Attempts to reach Krah the following day were not successful. It was not immediately clear whether he had retained an attorney who could speak on his behalf.
Krah faces a hate crime charge in the In-N-Out Burger case, as well as a misdemeanor battery charge for a separate incident the next day in Danville when he confronted a man in a shopping center parking lot and spat on him, prosecutors said.
The victim in the battery case did not involve a “cognizable protected class” that could have brought an additional hate crime charge, according to the Contra Costa County District Attorney’s Office.
Krah posted bond and is due to appear in court Feb. 1. He faces a maximum sentence of one year and six months if convicted of both charges.
“A threat to one ethnic community is a threat to all communities,“ Contra Costa County District Attorney Diana Becton said in a news release. “There is no place for hate crime in Contra Costa County.“
Krah also faces charges in a Colorado vehicular assault case, and authorities there will seek to extradite him, the District Attorney’s office said.
In the video, the camera is facing the two young people as they eat French fries and an order known as “The Flying Dutchman.” A male voice can be heard asking them if they are filming themselves while eating, before making a homophobic comment.
Later, a male voice can be heard asking one of the diners if they are Japanese or Korean. The diner responds that they are Korean, leading the man to make comments about Kim Jong Un, North Korea’s leader. The other diner then urges the first to stop engaging with the man, who threatens to spit in the diners’ faces. He continues to make racist and offensive comments.
After the video was posted online, police detectives contacted the victims and began an investigation that led to Krah’s arrest.
The viral video follows a rise in hate incidents against people of Asian descent during the pandemic and increasing hateful rhetoric toward LGBTQ people online.