NE Phila. man sues Hooters for racial slur

Posted: September 14, 2012

AN ASIAN MAN from Northeast Philly is suing a Hooters restaurant in New York for racial discrimination after an employee identified his girlfriend and him with the word "Chinx" on their receipt.

Kisuk Cha, 25, and his unnamed girlfriend, Korean immigrants, ordered takeout July 1 at a Hooters in Queens, according to a federal lawsuit filed Monday in New York.

After placing their order, the couple noticed the hostess and another employee standing near a computer monitor, "gawking at them, looking at the screen, and giggling," the lawsuit says.

Cha paid the $21.75 bill, but as the pair left he checked his receipt and discovered the racial slur in the spot where a customer's name belonged, the suit says.

"At first, obviously, I was angry and very offended," Cha told the Daily News on Wednesday.

Cha contemplated re-entering the restaurant to confront a manager, but decided to head back to his girlfriend's place. When they arrived, they threw the meals away, claiming they had lost their appetites over the incident. "We didn't eat the food," he said. "We just kept thinking about it."

Cha's lawyer, Daniel D. Baek, said he filed the lawsuit after the couple got the runaround when they tried to make sure someone was held accountable for the slur.

"I don't take this kind of thing lightly," Cha said. "I want the public to know - to not let it happen again."

Hooters says it won't. Edward McCabe, a lawyer hired by the restaurant to investigate, told the New York Daily News that a hostess fessed up and then quit.

"She was very apologetic," McCabe said. "She said she didn't realize the gravity of it and how offensive it was. It was shocking to us and we are absolutely sympathetic to [Cha and his girlfriend]."

Baek said the suit seeks compensatory damages for distress.

"The impression is that when Asians are being made fun of, they just mull it over and move on," Baek said. "These incidents give a wrong impression to the world that people of color, in America, should be vigilant and double-check to see how they are being identified."

Earlier this year, the Papa John's pizza chain apologized after a Manhattan employee printed "lady chinky eyes" on an Asian-American customer's receipt.

Contact Andrew Eiser at 215-854-2513 or Follow him on Twitter @andrew_eiser.

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