- Montreal restaurant Licence IV has apologized for a joke about COVID-19 that many have called racist.
- One passerby of Asian descent says that the restaurant owner directed the joke at her.
An incident at Montreal restaurant has created a stir on social media and has led to the owners issuing a public apology. Licence IV, a bistro-bar in Old Montreal was accused of racism by a Vancouverite of Asian descent who was visiting Montreal. As she walked by the restaurant, she says two people knocked on the window, gestured at her, and pointed at the phrase "no coronavirus here," written on the window of the establishment.
In a widely-circulated Facebook post, Tiffany Rolls, who has also been identified as Tiffany Sung, writes that "my hairs immediately stood up and my adrenaline started pumping. I mouthed wtf and pointed at why they would write something like that on their windows."
"Two thoughts," she continues, "1) inappropriate but simply ignorant joke or 2) racism in action by pointing to the Asian walking by."
Rolls says that the man walked outside to confront her "with threatening body language." A woman from inside the bar also came outside and started yelling, she claims, defending the message that was written on the window.
The bar's owner issued a public apology after a number of people, including Anny Truong, who shared the incident with MTL Blog, reached out to him personally.
The message was without racist intent, say Licence IV's owners in a Facebook post.
"We are extremely upset with the situation and offer our most sincere apologies to anyone who feels concerned," they write.
"The message written on the window was not racist in any way. Childish, yes. Not racist."
The owner alleges that a private party got a little out of hand when patrons wrote the phrase on the window.
"It's a story of a misunderstanding between inebriated people at 2 in the morning on a Friday night," claims the bar.
"We had just had a private party with clients and everyone was having a really great time, including the owner who thought it was funny at the moment."
The owner, Ludovic La Villette, tells MTL Blog that the incident has affected him and his staff deeply and that they want to offer their sincerest apologies to those who found the writing offensive.
Many commenters under Tiffany's post maintain that the incident was uncalled for and completely racist, however.
"Does it make it right for us to have used a global crisis to attract people into our party? NO. It doesn't," concludes Licence IV's apology letter.
"None of this is a laughing matter and again, we apologize for the discomforting situation."
MTL Blog has reached out to Tiffany and will update this article when we get a response.