Last month, a viral TikTok exposed a white man, dubbed a male “Karen” by TikTok users, for making racist remarks toward an Asian manager at a Korean restaurant.
The video, posted by an unnamed TikTok creator (@mechunnom), shows a white man snapping his fingers, raising his voice, and making racist remarks towards an Asian restaurant manager.
“We are in America. This is not owned by the CCP [Chinese Communist Party]. Do you understand?” the white man says in the video.
“I’m not Chinese,” the restaurant manager appears to say in response.
“I don’t care. Like honestly, do you understand the words that are coming out of my mouth?” the white man says in a loud voice.
“This is America #karen,” the creator of the TikTok captioned the video.
@mechunnom This is America #karen #racist #korean #bcd ♬ original sound – user2692795807931
In a follow-up video, the creator of the TikTok explains that he and his friends were at a BCD Tofu House location in Irvine, California when the “Karen” interaction was recorded. BCD Tofu House is a Korean restaurant chain with 12 locations in California, Texas, and New York.
The creator says that the man in the video was visibly intoxicated, likely drunk, and arrived at the restaurant with a friend. When it came time to pay, the man’s friend left, leaving him with no method of payment besides Apple Pay.
When the man learned the restaurant did not accept Apple Pay, he was furious and demanded to speak with a manager. The creator said the manager explained it was not possible for the restaurant to accept Apple Pay, and asked for another form of payment.
“The Karen got very offended, as they do, and threw a fit in the middle of the restaurant, screaming, shouting, saying all this racist stuff in the middle of BCD in Irvine, filled with almost all Asian customers,” the creator described.
The creator then says the manager was incredibly professional throughout the entire ordeal, attempting to de-escalate the situation. Although the creator says the manager did threaten to call the police multiple times, the white man eventually ran off, leaving his phone.
The creator praised the restaurant manager for his calm reaction to the situation—and also praised him for his good looks.
“If any of you have worked in the food industry or service industry you know how difficult it is to deal with such customers, but the manager was so professional and handled it so smoothly,” the creator explained.
@mechunnom Reply to @sunson415 story time ig #karen #racist #korean #bcd ♬ original sound – user2692795807931
The viral TikTok series highlighted the common experience of racism and harassment toward restaurant workers in the United States. Specifically in recent years, tied to the pandemic, Asian-American restaurant workers have been subjected to multiple horrific incidences of racist harassment and attacks.
Users in the comments section of the viral TikTok were appalled by the male Karen’s racist behavior.
“The audacity he has bruh smh,” one user commented.
“His snapping frustrates me,” another replied.
Others were struck by the racist reference to the Chinese Communist Party.
“The managers reaction when listening to him saying the CCP line,” one user responded.
“It’s like this generation is surprised we are a nation of multi ethnicities…like it’s a new thing,” a second replied.
On the flip side, many users praised the manager for how he handled the situation.
“Props to the server/manager! Food industry is hard enough as it is,” one user said.
“Let the manager know I’m ready to marry him,” another commented.
The Daily Dot reached out to the creator (@mechunnom) via comment on their viral TikTok and BCD Tofu House via email.
Update 11:04am CT, May 16: A BCD spokesperson confirms the incident, telling the Daily Dot in a statement: “The incident did indeed happen at our BCD Tofu House Irvine location. This is not the first time nor last time our staff will have to deal with unruly and inebriated members of the community. Sometimes, they are racist and other times just rambunctious and belligerent. We live in a very diverse community and we’re more than happy to represent the Korean community through our bubbly hot soondubu and delicious galbi. The person in question was indeed drunk and our staff handled it as best they could. We are (unfortunately) not strangers to racist comments or behaviors from members of our staff. The person in question came back the following day and personally apologized for the incident. Our staff member handled the situation with much grace. We decided to donate a small fee to two AAPI communities and will continue to keep our doors opens to all kinds of people to enjoy Korean food and to learn a little bit more about our community (and the larger Asian community that is so vital to Irvine).”