By CATHERINE THORBECKE, ABC News
(CARMEL, Calif.) — A tech industry CEO has apologized after he was caught-on-camera yelling racist remarks at an Asian American family celebrating a birthday at a restaurant in Carmel, California.
In video that has since gone viral, a man — who was later identified as cloud computing company Solid8 CEO Michael Lofthouse — can be seen smirking and giving his middle finger to the family.
“Trump’s going to f— you,” he said in the video. “You f—ers need to leave … f—ing Asian piece of s—.”
As he continued on, a staff member at the restaurant intervened, telling him to “get out” and defending the family as “valued guests.”
“You do not talk to our guests like that, get out now,” a waitress can be heard saying in the video.
“Who are these f—ers,” Lofthouse quipped back, adding, “Yes, they are valued guests in America?”
Raymond Orosa told local ABC News affiliate KGO-TV that he was at the restaurant celebrating his wife’s birthday on July 4 with his family, when “suddenly I hear this loud voice: effing Asians.”
“He was full of hate and anger,” Orosa said. “And it’s sad that there is still people that are like that in this world, let alone in this country.”
Orosa said his niece filmed the video and shared it on Instagram, where it has garnered nearly 650,000 views. It was also widely shared on Twitter, and even celebrities including Chrissy Teigen weighed-in on Lofthouse’s actions.
— chrissy teigen (@chrissyteigen) July 8, 2020
Orosa added that he admires the waitress for stepping in.
Sean Damery, the regional vice president of Bernadus Lodge and Spa, which housed the Lucia restaurant where the incident took place, told ABC News in a statement that he was “proud” of his staff.
“This is an extremely unfortunate situation, however we are proud of our staff at Lucia in keeping with Bernardus Lodge’s core values,” he said. “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.”
Since his tirade went viral, Lofthouse has seemingly erased himself from social media. Facebook and LinkedIn accounts associated with him have been de-activated. A website associated with Solid8 has also been replaced with a “Coming Soon” landing page. A phone number listed for Lofthouse could not be reached by ABC News.
Lofthouse has issued a statement to KGO-TV apologizing to the family, calling his behavior in the video “appalling.”
“This was clearly a moment where I lost control and made incredibly hurtful and divisive comments,” Lofthouse’s statement 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.”
Orosa told KGO-TV he thinks the apology is “just saving face.”
“I think he really meant what he said and what he did,” he said. “I don’t believe his words because his actions speak louder than the words he say.”
Still, the father said while he doesn’t believe that what Lofthouse did was “acceptable or right” he has chosen to forgive him.
“A lot of people will probably disagree with me for saying that I forgive him,” Orosa said. “But I do.”
The incident comes as the novel coronavirus pandemic and its suspected origins in Wuhan, China, has brought an onslaught of anti-Asian racism in the U.S
President Trump has repeatedly called COVID-19 the “Chinese virus,” or even the “Kung flu,” despite diseases carrying no national origin and criticism of his use of the phrases stoking racism against Asian people.
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