Taco Bell says an employee who used a racial slur to refer to an Asian-American customer no longer works for them.
The fast food chain issued the statement Tuesday following reports that a cashier in Philadelphia used a slur to describe a student on a printed receipt over the weekend.
First-year University of Pennsylvania Ph.D student In Young Lee told the Daily Pennsylvanian that he thinks it’s important to make a conscious effort to fight racism.
Lee also posted an image of the receipt on Facebook along with a post that said he was ‘infuriated’ by the incident.
Taco Bell says the franchisee is retraining staff and that management has apologized directly to Lee.
[Revision: I honestly did not expect this incident to draw much attention so did not include the entire story initially. Here is the full version of what actually happened. If you want to cut to the chase just look at the uploaded photo.]
After a fun night out on Friday, I went to Taco Bell with Zvi and Jess to grab a late-night snack. I ordered my food and when the cashier asked me for a name I told him “Steve”. Usually when I’m asked for a name at a restaurant or café I give a fake Anglo name instead of “In Young” because otherwise I would have to spell it out (which fails most the time anyway) making it inconvenient for both the cashier and me. Our interaction was very ordinary and cordial even, until I saw my name on the receipt that read “STEVE CHINK”. I was so infuriated that I couldn’t help but to confront the cashier. When I confronted him, he said that there are three Steve’s in the restaurant so he needed to differentiate. It made me even more upset that he was protecting his case rather than apologizing so I lashed out and told him that it is extremely disrespectful to use such a derogatory slur. He eventually apologized, and although I was still very upset I decided to let the case go.
What really got me riled up is when I heard him crack up jokes with his coworkers in the kitchen. My friends and I were sitting close to the kitchen so we heard him using the word “chink” again to describe the situation as he laughed with his coworkers (where is your remorse?). This is when I snapped and stormed to the counter and started yelling at him (I might or might not have cussed him out a little bit, oops. In retrospect, that was not the most ideal way to deal with the situation but I couldn’t help it). This is when the manager approached me to calm me down. He said that what the cashier did to me was wrong and that he is sorry. However, he rebutted that I was being disrespectful by snatching my food from the cashier. It was as if he was trying to defuse the situation by redirecting the blame on to me. But how does he expect me to be polite to the cashier when he deliberately took his time to spell out the word “CHINK” to describe me? When he attempted to condemn me, people in the restaurant started to berate both the manger and the cashier, which led him to apologize and finally admit that they were in the wrong. I thought incidents like this only happen in the news and never expected it to happen to me but I guess it really does happen in the real world. Normally I would let things like this go but under the current political climate I find it very important to address such issues and voice them loudly and clearly.
employee was fired, branch manager Dontae Freeman told the Daily Pennsylvania
“We do not tolerate this behavior. This employee no longer works for the brand, and the franchisee is retraining its staff to ensure this incident will not happen again. Management has reached out and apologized directly to the customer,” Taco Bell PR wrote in an email to The Daily Pennsylvanian.
first year medical PhD student
130am Saturday after a night out with friends
Freeman does not work on weekends and did not witness the incident
Lee said that he “didn’t think it was necessary” for the employee to be fired and was worried that the termination might make the employee “more resentful, rather than acknowledging he’s done something wrong.”
Lee said he was happy to hear that Taco Bell is retraining the branch’s other employees.
“At least for Asian-Americans, we don’t speak up that much, and I think that’s one of the reasons why stuff like this happens all the time, and it’s usually ignored,” Lee said. “I just want Asians in general to become more vocal about incidents like this.”
As the attacks continued, Lee says he ripped his food away from a cashier, who was not involved in the incident.
said Monday that he wouldn’t publicize the name of the cashier and that he just wanted the cashier to understand “that racial slurs have implications and the meaning behind things can really hurt people.”
born in south korea
Lee said he purposefully blurred out the name of the cashier on the receipt he posted to Facebook because he doesn’t want the man to lose his job. Instead, he said, he just wants him to understand “that racial slurs have implications and the meaning behind things can really hurt people.”
“I was just very surprised that people think about me that way,” he said, “that they categorize me as this derogatory thing.”