Hooters Hit With Lawsuit Over Derogatory Term Made Toward Asian Patron
NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — They’re self-described “tacky” Hooters girls, tasked with delivering wings and beer. But one customer is now suing the franchise in Fresh Meadows, saying the ladies served up a lot more than just food.
A derogatory term for Asians was written right in black and white on his receipt. It accompanied his take-out order back in July.
“She gave me a receipt and it said the word ‘Chinx’ on it,” Kisuk Cha said.
Cha was so offended he went home, threw out his food and then hired an attorney, CBS 2’s Jessica Schneider reported Tuesday night.
“That’s not what we’re all about, especially here in New York City, Queens County, the most diverse place in the world,” attorney Daniel Baek said.
“The law is very clear, you can hate Asians all you want, but the moment one walks into your place of business, he or she is entitled to equal treatment and protection. That’s been violated here,” Baek told 1010 WINS’ Aaron Gerberg. “My client threw away his food after he saw the receipt — very disgusted. And ever since then, he did not go back to any national chain store whatsoever. He doesn’t want to go back to Hooters again.”
That woman who typed in that racial slur was a 20-year-old hostess who used another employee’s ID to place that take-out order. When the company started investigating, she confessed and quickly resigned.
“She made a mistake. She was insensitive. For that, the company does not bear responsibility,” Hooters attorney Edward McCabe said.
“This is just a circumstance where a 20-year-old girl put something unfortunate on a receipt. I don’t see how this is something where we bear liability. I think it’s a frivolous case. I think it’s an attempt to get money from the company where there is no liability and no damage and we intend to fight it,” McCabe told 1010 WINS.
Hooters is now vigorously defending the just-filed civil rights lawsuit, and pointing to a lengthy investigation it conducted after Mr. Cha complained to them.
“We own four restaurants. We’ve never had an incident like this,” McCabe said. “We got receipts going back three months before the incident. There wasn’t one occasion where there was any type of inappropriate comment on any of them.”
Cha, a recently naturalized citizen, isn’t backing down. He said he can’t sleep. He’s afraid to go into non-Asian restaurants.
“I never expected this incident to happen to me. It’s personal,” Cha said.
“Despite what Hooters may think, the business is responsible for the deplorable actions of their employees,” Baek added.
Cha filed his lawsuit Monday and is seeking more than $150,000 in damages.
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