Michael Lofthouse, a tech CEO from San Francisco, was caught on video on July 4 spewing racist remarks to a Filipino American family that was celebrating a birthday at the Bernardus Lodge and Spa’s Lucia restaurant in Carmel Valley, California. | Screenshots from Jordan Chan/Instagram

A Filipino American family from Southern California took a trip up north to Carmel Valley over the Fourth of July weekend to celebrate a birthday. What was supposed to be a happy occasion quickly turned into another example of pervasive anti-Asian hate caught on video.

“We were having fun, playing games and when we were having dessert, suddenly, we hear somebody behind us yelling, ‘You f***ing Asians,” Raymond Orosa told the Asian Journal.

On July 4, Orosa, along with his sister-in-law and her two children, was at the Bernardus Lodge and Spa’s Lucia restaurant to celebrate his wife Mari’s special day.

When the white man — later identified by social media users as Michael Lofthouse, who owns a tech company called Solid8 in San Francisco — started berating the family, Orosa’s niece Jordan Chan pulled out her cellphone and told him to repeat what he had said.

In the video Chan posted on her Instagram, Lofthouse is seen sticking up his middle finger to the family, and then says, “Trump’s gonna f*** you.”

“It is no coincidence that this man has the audacity to showcase such blatant racism on the 4th of July. White supremacy has a notorious habit of masquerading as patriotism!” Chan wrote.

Later in the video, Lofthouse gets ready to leave and tells them, “You f****** need to leave. You f***ing Asian piece of s***.”

 

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❗️❗️❗️SHARE THIS POST❗️❗️❗️ Trigger warning: Racism, Vulgar Language (FYI he had a LOT more to say after I stopped recording) This is the face of the man who relentlessly harassed my family and I completely UNPROVOKED, UNWARRANTED, and UNCONSCIONABLE. We were celebrating my tita’s birthday, literally just singing happy birthday to her and taking pictures, when this white supremacist starts yelling disgusting racist remarks at us. (“Fuck you Asians” “Go back to whatever fucking Asian country you’re from” “You don’t belong here”) It is no coincidence that this man has the audacity to showcase such blatant racism on the 4th of July. White supremacy has a notorious habit of masquerading as patriotism! 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 COLOR AND ETHNIC ORIGIN. ✊????✊????✊????✊????✊????

A post shared by @ jordanlizchan on

“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!” Chan continued in her post, encouraging people to vote in November.

A waitress later stepped in, saying “You do not talk to guests like that.” (The video, which has been viewed nearly 400,000 times on Chan’s Instagram, also caught the attention of singer Kelly Clarkson on Twitter, praising the waitress for speaking up and “throwing this trash out.”)

“We were shocked. All I could say was, ‘What’s wrong with you?’ because I didn’t want to react in a manner that could trigger something. I didn’t know how violent he could be and didn’t want to jeopardize the safety of my family,” Orosa said.

He also told the Asian Journal that the video didn’t capture the entire encounter as a man at another table also tried to intervene and chase Lofthouse out of the restaurant.

The lodge has since released a statement commending the staff for how they handled the incident and apologizing to Orosa and his family.

Chan also shared an abusive comment that Lofthouse reportedly posted on her Instagram that has since been deleted.

The tech entrepreneur also issued a public apology, writing, “My behavior in the video is appalling. This was clearly a moment where I lost control and made incredibly hurtful and divisive comments. I would like to deeply apologize to the Chan family. I can only imagine the stress and pain they feel. I was taught to respect people of all races, 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.”

Orosa, who has been in the U.S. for nearly three decades, said though the incident personally affected his family, it shows a bigger picture of what the Asian American community is facing today.

“I think he shouldn’t just apologize to us. He should apologize to the whole Asian community that’s seen his video and from that point on, take all the responsibility that comes with it,” Orosa said. “He did it and everybody witnessed it. He’s gotta be responsible for what he’s done and said.”

This family’s racist experience is one of several that Fil-Ams across the state have spoken up about in recent months. Other examples have included a Filipina American who was told to go back to her country while exercising in Torrance or a white woman who threatened to call the cops on a Fil-Am man who was stenciling ‘Black Lives Matter’ outside of his San Francisco home.

Recent data from the Stop AAPI Hate reporting center showed that 832 incidents of discrimination and hate against Asians have been reported in California alone.

“Despite the fact that racism still exists, it shouldn’t stop us from doing the right thing,” Orosa said. “If we have one unified voice and speak up, the better it is for people to understand that we can do this and protect each other from people like this guy, Michael.”

Christina M. Oriel
Christina M. Oriel

Christina M. Oriel is the Managing Editor of the Asian Journal Weekly Newspapers.

25 Comments
  1. The restaurant employee who defended the family and stood with what is right deserves our highest praises and admiration. We Filipinos are indebted to her outright bravery and conviction. May God bless her and her family with the same goodness she so selflessly expressed.

  2. Pluralize “piece.” Also, sounds like someone took it up the butt a little too hard in the Bay Area from someone he met on #Tinder who probably was Asian and from down south. ????????‍♀️

  3. the staff of that restaurant was awesome. love her. put a branch here in Philippines with that kind and awesome staff and I go dine in to that restaurant everyday! to that racist man. gth!

  4. As a fellow Filipino American myself, I stand with this family against the comments of this guy blatantly insulting them for their race. What I’m going to have to disagree with are the comments of Jordan Chan, specifically: “White supremacy has a notorious habit of masquerading as patriotism! Donald Trump is our president, gives racists a platform, and amplifies voices of hate.” And she goes on to further paint the President in a negative light. Not only this, but her comments generalize patriots and other Americans who support Trump… and that includes me. A Filipino American. Who supports Donald Trump. Jordan Chan is absolutely correct about this man’s terrible comments. But she is dead wrong in generalizing all Trump supporters who are comprised of many different ethnicities and love America. The world is not as black and white as it may seem, and generalizing a particular group of individuals (Trump and his supporters) in a negative light only further promulgates more division, which she ironically says she’s against.

    So with that said, she’s using Lofthouse as the one element to paint all Trump supporters as holding the same view. Spare me the theatrics because he is NOT representative of all Trump supporters composed of every race, color, and creed. Jordan should understand that. #Trump2020

  5. I agree with Ric. I am Filipino American and l support Trump. I will never think of him as racists. I want him to win because he does what is right for the country. For the Yellow, brown white, olive skin Americans. The color of the skin does not matter.

  6. Well it’s not Trump’s fault that these racists make their moves on Asians, as far as I know majority of Americans would lump all Asians under the notion that they’re all Chinese if not then I can only say that CEO have a small brain not to realize generalizing all Asians as Chinese. Trump doesn’t hate Asians but we Asians know he doesn’t like CCP and so do we.

    We Asians also are a bit of a racist ourselves with our fellow asians. I mean majority of asians doesn’t like Chinese due to their lack of manners and we categorize most madarin speaking asians as Chinese.

    I don’t hate Chinese as not all of them are bad. I only don’t like those Chinese who follows CCP like a lapdog and those uncivilized Chinese coming from the north who acts like they own the planet.

    So for those other Asians speaking Chinese but is not Chinese be careful with your actions as people are watching and if you act like a trash with what’s going on in the world right now many people will see you like a trash heck if even a Chinese supremacist see you as inferior they’d treat you like trash.

    I really hate those Chinese who spits inside the elevator.

  7. Serious inquiry. I have an extremely difficult time understanding how any minority whether by race or gender can possibly be a supporter of Trump. You are okay with terms like “Kung Flu” or his insistence on “Chinese virus”? These hateful statements are not only hurtful to Asian Americans of all ethnicities but outright dangerous since they embolden your fellow Trump supporters who do happen to be racist (and let’s be real – they’re certainly some who are) to speak out, or worse, act out against Asian Americans. You may have your own issues for supporting Trump, but understand that a vote for him is a vote for the division and hate that he himself encourages and validates through his own actions.

  8. Thank you John! Personally I do not accept the notion that you can support Trump and be a decent person.

  9. You “have an extremely difficult time understanding how any minority whether by race or gender can possibly be a supporter of Trump,” you say? Terms such as “Kung Flu” and “Chinese virus” are offensive? Well, first off, if you’re going to say that this is “hurtful to Asian Americans of all ethnicities,” that doesn’t make sense because you’re making the assumption that somehow “Kung Flu” and “Chinese virus” isn’t only directed to China. China actually blamed the U.S. for bringing the virus to their country when the virus was found on their premises, and eventually spread across the world. Therefore, Trump hit back and called it the Chinese virus because it originated in the nation of China. That has nothing to do with ethnicity.

    If the virus came from Ireland or Sweden, you’d be calling it the Irish virus or the Swedish virus. The Spanish Flu was called the Spanish Flu because it came from Spain. Are you going to now say that’s racist against Spaniards? Because no one said that back then. China has been insulting the United States for a long time– they’ve completely disagreed with America’s freedom and murdered their own citizens in Tiananmen Square who wanted freedom from their oppressive Communist rule. So yes, I am comfortable with “Kung Flu” and “Chinese Virus.” Added, Trump stopped travel in the attempt to protect as many Americans (and that of course includes Asian Americans) from the virus.

    If you’re going to call out the fringe group of Trump supporters who are racist (while they still do not make up the majority of Trump supporters who are just normal Americans of every race, color, and creed), will you call out the people on the left who go and generalize all minorities and say that they should vote for them only to have them put more money into their pockets via taxes? Will you call out Joe Biden’s racist statement, “If you have a problem figuring out whether you’re for me or Trump, then you ain’t black'”? Will you call out the people on the left who say a white person has “white privilege,” thereby saying that only people with a certain color of skin gets benefits and then demean those who are of a different race? More generalizations that sow division. Those people who don’t see people as individuals who can create their own life in America and don’t believe that certain ethnic groups don’t get benefits because of the color of their skin. And yet, these people who say such say they’re against racism. That’s amazing. I guess Frederick Douglass, Justice Thurgood Marshall, Justice Clarence Thomas, Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice, and even Barack Obama’s election to the Presidency didn’t mean anything to you?

    You say about Trump, “a vote for him is a vote for the division and hate…” Now what do you say about the black, Hispanic, and Asians who support Trump? Are you going to say that they are voting wrongly? The fact that Trump has garnered support from people of different races is a fact of unity. People can go and freely think for themselves and their families. You can’t assume that Trump’s Presidency sows division and hate when there are plenty of diverse Americans on his side including me, a Filipino American. People who look at others as individuals by who they are as people, not by skin pigmentation.

  10. He’s no tech CEO. The guy’s “company” basically provides a service that is totally redundant and no one in their right minds would pay money for. He’s basically an unemployed loser. Stop calling him a “tech CEO” – his company has exactly one employee, himself.

  11. Hello Ric. The 1918 Influenza was first reported from Kansas. Spain was the only country allowing journalists to report on the epidemic without censorship so it was erroneously labeled as the Spanish Flu.

  12. A lot of minorities (Fil-Ams included) have “no choice” but to support Trump as supporting Trump “whitens” them.

    They may support Trump, but Trump will never support them. Trump will only support white.

    In Trumps eyes, the 1st generation Swedish immigrant is “American”, while the 3rd generation Filipino-American will always be FOB.

    It sounds so pathetic the way FilAms proudly declare “I am a proud Trump supporter!”

    But then again, brown monkey votes also count. Haha.

  13. Hi, Mart. You’re right. Additionally, Spain also labeled that same flu as the “French Flu.” The point is that the disease was named after the countries they were believed to have originated. Not out of disrespect to the people of those nations.

  14. I am a Filipino American , I vote for Obama twice and once Hilary, I made a big mistakes , this time I will definitely vote for Trump, TRUMP 2020.

  15. He’s a foreigner insulting an American family. Why isn’t he afraid of deportation? He should be deported, shouldn’t he?

  16. Well, Mike. You’re a pretty funny guy saying that Fil-Ams along with other minorities “have “no choice” but to support Trump as supporting Trump ‘whitens’ them.” Then you subsequently state that they “may support Trump, but Trump will never support them. Trump will only support white.”

    Do you even have any hard evidence that supports this notion? Where is your proof that Trump believes “the 1st generation Swedish immigrant is “American”, while the 3rd generation Filipino-American will always be FOB”? Then you go on to say that Filipino Americans’ support of the President is pathetic and that “brown monkey votes also count.” Who do you think you are to say something as ridiculous and racist as that?

    As far as I know from your comments here, you are making the assumption that Trump is racist while you have provided no evidence, only claims. But amidst saying that shortly afterwards, you reveal your own racism by saying that support of the President “whitens” Filipino Americans, that “they will always be FOB,” and that “brown monkey votes count.”

    You are essentially the true racist here in these comments who has done nothing but put other Filipino Americans down because they support someone you don’t. You are generalizing all Filipinos and other Americans of different ethnicities. Funny you don’t realize the stupidity and racism of your own comment.

  17. @ Mike Gonzales: Another proud Fil Am supporter of Trump here! And just as proud of my heritage and color. No need nor desire to be “White” or labeled as one. Love my black hair, brown eyes, not so brown skin that tans naturally after a good hike or swim in the scorching ???? 🙂 Immigrated to CA in 1995 and have worked a decent job with a good and stable income as a Registered Nurse. Was at some point a single mom to 3 beautiful kids all born and raised here but never dependent on people’s tax money to raise them by myself for a few years. Haters are gonna Hate, Judge, and Label anyone with a different point point of view from them. Doesn’t mean we are Dumb or Fools. Just different from you.

  18. Hi Gisela and Ric,

    Your comments are taken with nonchalance.

    The beauty of our democracy is you can choose to believe what you want to believe. Just as it’s human nature to believe in what makes us feel good, accepted and validated. 🙂

    But as far as my right to free speech and freedom to express my thoughts are concerned (and without any factual proof), it is my opinion that made to choose between 2 friends in a sinking boat, Trump will choose the blonde-blue-eyed Swedish immigrant over you (3rd generation Fil Am notwithstanding).

    The hurtful truth is not meant to belittle. It is just that – the truth.

    Trump supporters may think its about being American. Partly true. But ultimately, to Trump and his redneck KKK supporters, its about being WHITE.

    What is happening to us Is just a microcosm of a global trend. The clamor for white people to re-assert their supremacy and ensure (at least in West) white dominance.

    I apologize though for the term “little brown monkeys”
    I should have said “little brown brother” Trump would love to have the support of his “little brown brothers”
    LOL

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Little_brown_brother

  19. @Mario

    Do we still not get it? Lol

    Hence my immigrant blonde/blue eyed Swedish vs 3rd generation born, bred and raised Fil-Am argument.

    It isn’t just about being American – its about being WHITE.

  20. Yes, Mike I understand the beauty of our democracy. Please tell me you also know that the US is not a pure democracy of a nation. It is a constitutional republic.

    Wait a second, you go in and talk about free speech and freedom to express your thoughts (which of course as an American, I fully support), but how is it as you say your opinion that “”Trump will choose the blonde-blue-eyed Swedish immigrant over” a Filipino American.?Then you say “The hurtful truth is not meant to belittle. It is just that – the truth.”

    Are you confused as to what truth and opinion is? What makes you think this way? For you to have an opinion, you must have evidence as to what Trump has done as an individual that is racist, and you have provided absolutely no evidence whatsoever. You’ve merely constructed a ridiculous scenario of Trump having to choose between a hilariously specific “blonde-blue-eyed Swedish immigrant” or a Filipino person to save a boat. Only proof to me that you are a pessimist who just accuses Trump of being racist just like his opponents do, and you have no proof to even support this scenario that paints Trump as a racist. Trump whose daughter happens to be Jewish and has Jewish grandchildren.

    Afterwards, come the tiresome claims of “Trump and his redneck KKK supporters” and “its about being WHITE.” Seriously, man, where is your proof that for Trump it is about being white instead of American? Where is your proof? What do you say about people like Ben Carson in his administration? Or Elaine Chao? Or the multitude of people: Black, Asian, and Hispanic Americans who support him. With everything you’ve said, are you saying that these minorities are supporting white supremacy? That I’m supporting white supremacy? Especially when Trump has a Jewish daughter and grandchildren. Ridiculous.

    And Mike, about that link you sent Crisela and I, you are talking about thoughts and actions toward Filipinos that occurred over a century ago. They continue to do so in this day and age you say? Yeah, why don’t you give me that number? Why are you bringing up those minuscule oppressive actions and focusing on them instead of focusing on the sheer number of Filipinos who have successfully immigrated to this country and produced a new generation of Americans who have gone to school here, made lifelong friends, gotten jobs, and joined the military that is full of different ethnicities to fight for our country?

    You did none of that. You’d rather focus on being oppressed than being a proud American.

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