The man caught on camera delivering an anti-Asian diatribe at a restaurant in Carmel Valley, California has been identified by multiple news outlets as Michael Lofthouse, founder and CEO of the cloud computing company Solid8. Footage of the racist incident, which occurred on July 4 and was published to Instagram and Twitter, has been viewed over 4 million times.
Lofthouse, a white man, can be seen in the video flashing his middle finger at Jordan Chan, the woman who recorded the video, before Lofthouse starts shouting that her family needs to “leave” the restaurant because they’re Asian. Chan and her family were reportedly celebrating a birthday for her aunt.
“Trump’s gonna fuck you,” the man says to the family while standing up from his table. “You fucking… you fuckers need to leave.”
Members of the family shouted back that Lofthouse was the one who should leave while he smiled and put on his jacket.
“No, you need to leave,” Lofthouse continued. “Fucking Asian pieces of shit.”
That’s when an employee at the restaurant, identified as Lucia Restaurant and Bar in Monterey County, intervened and emphatically told the man that he was no longer welcome.
“Who are these fuckers?” Lofthouse asked the employee.
“They’re valued guests,” the server responded before telling him to never come back to the restaurant.
Lofthouse said “Fuck you Asians” and “Go back to whatever fucking Asian country you’re from” before the family started taping the disturbing interaction, according Chan, who recorded the video.
It’s no surprise that Lofthouse invoked the name of U.S. President Donald Trump, a white supremacist who previously told congresswomen of colour to “go back” to the “crime infested places from which they came.” The phrase “go back to your country” is a common refrain from racists like Lofthouse and the president.
Lofthouse, who appears to have deleted his LinkedIn and had his Twitter page suspended, issued a statement to the Bay Area’s ABC7 TV station, calling his own behaviour “appalling.”
“This was clearly a moment where I lost control and made incredibly hurtful and divisive comments,” Lofthouse said. “I would like to deeply apologise to the Chan family. I can only imagine the stress and pain they feel. I was taught to respect people of all race 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.”
But Jordan Chan understands exactly where this racism is coming from, and urges Americans to vote in the presidential election this November, noting that even traditionally “liberal” states like California are experiencing more public displays of racism under Trump’s leadership.
“White supremacy has a notorious habit of masquerading as patriotism!” Chan wrote in her Instagram post about the encounter. “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 COLOUR AND ETHNIC ORIGIN.”