Police Investigate Racist Letters Sent to Asian-Run Businesses
Asian-run businesses around California are getting an anonymous, racist letter that is laced with expletives and Asian slurs and stereotypes.
Top 10 Nails in Riverside and another Asian-run business in Yucaipa in neighboring San Bernardino County have in recent days received what appears to be an identical letter, according to the Riverside Police Department, which anticipates that more recipients may come forward.
And in the Sonoma County town of Healdsburg, All Polish Nails and Spa also got a letter, which by photo comparison, appears to be the same as the ones sent to the businesses in the Inland Empire.
A DISTURBING MESSAGE
The author refers to Asians as "nasty, ugly, smelly, disgusting, pancake face, stir-fry cockroach eaters, dog/cat eaters, toe nail cleaners, raw monkey brain eaters" and tells them to "GET THE F--- OUT!" of the country.
You can read the redacted letter below:
Jackie Vu, whose family runs Top 10 Nails in Riverside, was outraged on behalf of her mother, who bought the business in 2017 after decades of working at other nail salons.
Now Vu's mother is worried that the attention the letter brings will scare off customers.
"She's like, 'How about if the customers don't come back? What if people don't want to come here because they're scared they're going to get shot?'" Vu said.
Riverside Police Department Officer Ryan Railsback said detectives at this time don't believe the letter poses a "credible threat" to the businesses, but he added they "are taking it very, very seriously."
Railsback urged any other recipients to contact local law enforcement.
"That way we can kind of have a grasp on how far this has gone, how much reach this person was trying to make," Railsback said.
Vu said she hoped it was just one individual who "got bored versus a lot of people because that would break my heart."
Vicky Mai, owner of the nail salon in Healdsburg, said she was shocked to get the letter and immediately began to worry that business would suffer after an employee posted a photo on social media.
Her industry has been shuttered for much of the pandemic, not helped, she said, by Gov. Newsom's unsubstantiated claim that the first case of community transmission of covid started at a nail salon.
But she said since receiving the letter Monday, she's been heartened by the support she's received from customers.
"The local people are so wonderful here," Mai said. "They make appointments, and they call me and they send in emails."
A SERIES OF ATTACKS
The letters to salons prompted a response from an Orange County-based nail care industry group, which called the hate mail "a slap in all of our faces."
Nailing It For America pointed out that during the pandemic many workers haven't known "how they were going to make their rent payments or put food on their tables" yet still donated meals and protective equipment to frontline workers.
"To know such disgusting and vile letters are being read by Vietnamese Americans who helped their fellow Americans is beyond words," the group said. "We call upon all Americans to condemn this hate speech and say enough is enough."
The letters surfaced just days after a gunman killed eight people at Atlanta-area spas, including six women of Asian descent, intensifying concerns about anti-Asian racism.
Riverside is to play host to an anti-hate rally on Saturday at the Chinese Pavilion to honor the victims from Atlanta, support AAPI communities and to "denounce xenophobia and hate." Vu plans to attend.
A different racist anti-Asian letter was also sent in recent days to a resident of Leisure World in Seal Beach. A Korean American widow received the letter days after her husband died, with the writer saying his death "makes it one less Asian to put up with in Leisure World."
This story has been updated.
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