YouTuber Sophia Chang Fights Back After Racist Incident at Restaurant
Update 9/25: Prudential has released a statement revealing that the man in Sophia Chang's video has been let go: “After thoroughly investigating the incident in Newport Beach, we have made the decision to end our relationship with the financial representative involved.”
YouTuber Sophia Chang is using Instagram to call out a man she says made racist comments towards her and her sister, Robin, while they were dining at a Blue Water Grill in Newport Beach, California on Saturday night. The man, who Chang called out by his full name, allegedly told the pair to “go back to Wuhan” when passing their table at the restaurant. (Chang did not say how she identified the man. She also named his employer, Prudential, which later tweeted that “the matter will be thoroughly investigated.”) Chang immediately pulled out her phone, and is now asking her 540,000 Instagram followers to help hold Hilbrant accountable.
“My sister and I sat down to eat dinner at @bluewatergrill in Newport Beach and this man made direct eye contact with us and said ‘go back to Wuhan’ as he headed to the bathroom,” Chang wrote in her initial post. “Once he returned, we asked him why he would say that and he goes ‘I don’t speak Chinese, I don’t know what you’re talking about.’ I’m so disgusted."
On Tuesday, Chang followed up with more details, including his name and place of employment.
“When the manager approached him, it looked like he was denying everything,” she writes. “However, when the staff was not around [he] would stare us down with this look as if he knew he just got away with what he said.”
The alleged comment was likely made in response to the coronavirus pandemic, cases of which were first diagnosed in Wuhan, China. As early as March, the FBI was reportedly on alert for a rise in hate crimes against Asian-Americans in response to the virus. In August, the NYPD created an Asian Hate Crime Task Force to handle an increase in attacks over the past five months.
In a comment on Instagram, Blue Water Grill says they “closed his check and asked him to leave. We don’t accept this behavior.” However, in a previous Instagram Story, Chang claims the man was not kicked out. Blue Water Grill did not immediately respond to a request for clarification.
“@prudential - he should be permanently terminated from your company!!” Chang writes. “We are waiting on a statement.”
On Tuesday evening, Prudential posted the message addressing the accusation.
Prudential has zero tolerance for discrimination and takes allegations about an incident in Newport Beach very seriously. This matter will be thoroughly investigated and appropriate action will be taken, as warranted.— Prudential (@Prudential) September 15, 2020
Chang did not immediately respond to a request for comment.