A tech startup founder is facing backlash this week after his racist rant was caught on camera at a California restaurant.
ABC 7 News reports the incident occurred on the Fourth of July at Bernardus Lodge and Spa's Lucia restaurant in Carmel Valley, where the Orosa and Chan family were celebrating a relative's birthday. The viral footage shows a white man sitting at a dining table as he makes offensive gestures and anti-Asian remarks toward the family. The man has since been identified as Michael Lofthouse, the British-born CEO of IT company Solid8.
"Trump’s going to fuck you!" he says in the clip, originally posted on Jordan Liz Chan's Instagram. "You fuckers need to leave ... You fucking Asian piece of shit."
Moments later, a Lucia employee intervenes and demands Lofthouse to leave the restaurant.
"You do not talk to a guest like that, you need to leave now," she's heard saying. "They are valued guests."
"Are they? They are valued guests in America?" Lofthouse replies.
Chan wrote on Instagram that the man continued to harass the family after she stopped recording. She also states that his verbal attack was "completely unprovoked, unwarranted, and unconscionable," as they were simply taking photos and singing happy birthday to her aunt right before Lofthouse launched his tirade.
"It is no coincidence that this man has the audacity to showcase such blatant racism on the 4th of July," she captioned video. "White supremacy has a notorious habit of masquerading as patriotism! The fact that Donald Trump is our president (i.e. THE MOST POWERFUL MAN IN THE WORLD) gives racists a platform and amplifies voices of hate. The surfacing of racists is so prevalent right now, even in such an ethnically/culturally diverse and liberal state like California, because Trump HIMSELF uses his position to incite racial tension and to promote aggression towards POC, foreigners, and immigrants. We need change! PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE VOTE THIS UPCOMING RE-ELECTION. PROTECT ALL PEOPLE REGARDLESS OF SKIN COLOR AND ETHNIC ORIGIN."
According to TMZ, Lucia restaurant has received a wave of support in the days since the video was posted. Many have called the establishment to applaud the employee who defended the family, while others have sent flower arrangements, offered to give upwards of $1,000 to the waitstaff, as well as cover the family's meals.
"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," Bernardus Lodge wrote in a statement. "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 has also responded to the video with an apology.
"My behavior in the video is appalling. This was clearly a moment where I lost control and made incredibly hurtful and divisive comments," he 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."
TMZ reports the family reported the incident to the Sheriff's Department, and an investigation is underway.