The Asian community in Bayside voiced outrage after a local restaurant employee allegedly posted racist comments on a community Facebook group.
Screenshots from a now deleted Facebook page show an employee at Brian Dempsey’s on Bell Boulevard referring to Chinese and Korean people as “cockroaches.”
Warning: The following image contains offensive language.
Residents identified the woman as restaurant server Mariesa Stewart, who allegedly posted the comment on the Bayside Facebook group on Sept. 15.
Stewart, however, denied she made the comment and said her account had been hacked.
But locals began flooding the comment sections on Brian Dempsey’s Yelp, Instagram and Facebook pages, the latter of which was temporarily shut down prior to Sept. 26. Additionally, resident Koy Penguina, who wished to use an alias for protection, said that the admin of the restaurant’s Instagram was deleting comments calling out the racist behavior.
“Brian Demsey – your employees are the face and reflection of your establishment. I will no longer support your bar as your bartender supports racism against Chinese and Koreans,” said one Yelp poster.
“But seeing how [I’m] just a [cockroach] in the eyes of their staff, me and the other roaches will take our business elsewhere. It’s been a fun 9+ years going to this establishment. Sad knowing this is how they really felt of me going there,” wrote another Yelp reviewer.
Stewart, who initially appeared as “Mariesa Mc Cluskey Stewart” on Facebook, changed her name to “Mariesa Stewart” amidst the backlash. She then issued a statement on her page claiming that someone had “hacked” or “cloned” her Facebook.
Penguina said that she and her friends reported Stewart’s original comment, which came down the same day it was posted.
Brian Dempsey’s, which just celebrated 25 years of business on Sept. 21, issued the following statement on its official Facebook page:
“We are aware of the racist comments being circulated around the social media space. Brian Dempsey’s does not condone nor accept these hateful comments. We are located in one of most diverse areas in the world, which is rich in culture. We have been in operation for 25 years and we owe much of our success to the [Queens] community. We consider diversity to be a fundamental value to be fully upheld, respected and are working on a solution so that we can better serve this community. We are deeply saddened to see this and offer our support to those who have been [affected] and offended by this unfortunate circumstance.”
But Penguina said that in addition to the statement, the Chinese and Korean communities wanted the restaurant to formally apologize. When she reached out to the establishment, she said they repeated that Stewart’s Facebook had been hacked.
QNS request for additional comment from Brian Dempsey’s was not immediately answered.