The owner of a Boystown Chinese restaurant sent police to the home of a woman who didn't like his restaurant's offensive name and logo. The 26-year-old woman wrote a message in lipstick denouncing the restaurant last week on a window.
Larry Lee, owner of Chop Chop Chinaman, defended his restaurant's name and his choice to seek criminal charges. Despite the long history of "Chinanman" used as a slur, Lee, who is of Chinese descent, told DNAinfo that he didn't understand the woman's anger and that his name was harmless. The restaurant wasn't open yet on Friday morning and Lee couldn't be reached.
The woman, Jeannie Harrell, snapped a photo of her message about the restaurant' s name and logo: "Fuck this hate crime shit. It's 2015." Harrell, who is of Japanese descent then posted the photo on Twitter, which is how Lee and the police tracked her down. The lipstick message earned her a misdemeanor charge of criminal damage to property.
Despite Boystown's track record for sensitivity within the gay community, Lee opened his Chinese restaurant using the name and signage in February, replacing Mark's Chop Suey near Halsted and Belmont. And Harrell's not alone, several outlets have denounced Lee on the Internet.
It's not the first time someone has left a message challenging a restaurant's owner. In January, anti-gentrification signs were left in the windows of the Bow Truss in Pilsen. The coffee shop's owners left the signs up to promote conversation and didn't call police and pursue charges. Unlike the folks at Bow Truss, Lee contacted the men in blue who proceeded to visit Harrell on Friday.
Lee attempted to rationalize the name telling DNAinfo that the slur was in the same class as Irishman or Englishman. Sounds like he's been hanging out with the guys from Chief O'Neill's.