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Netizens Call for Boycott of 'Racist' Hoi An Cafe for Refusing to Serve Vietnamese

Many netizens are calling for a boycott of a coffee shop in Hoi An after anecdotes emerged online accusing the place of discriminatory service.

According to Phu Nu Online, the café in question is Cyclo’s Road Café, a riverside spot on Bach Dang Street, Hoi An. The newspaper interviewed P., a female tourist from Saigon who visited the coffee shop on September 7 with her husband and a friend. When the friend asked a male staff member if they could move a chair, he told them: “Please go away, we don’t serve [you] here.”

P. recounted the incident to the host of her rental, who confirmed the café’s controversial policy: “They don’t serve Vietnamese there. They will refuse if they see you; it happened to me too.” At the time of writing, the café’s official TripAdvisor profile has 175 reviews, with 102 five-star ones and 15 one-star reviews. The bad reviews all call the coffee shop out for its “racist” treatment. The first mention of the discrimination dates back to early 2018.

“Amazing cocktails and overall great vibe. Until you notice that all Asian people are being sent away (unless they are with white friends, like me). Doesn't matter whether they're asian tourists or locals,” a review from Jade L. reads. “The owner/waiter refused them all, even though there were free tables.”

In addition to accounts from Vietnamese tourists, there are also similar complaints made by travelers who are Thai, Korean and Chinese. “The waiter who works there is racist. He made us get out. He doesn’t welcome Asian people though he is an ASIAN as well,” TripAdvisor user jeongahnshin writes in a review after a visit in August 2018.

Since news of the discrimination made headlines, netizens have called for a boycott of Cyclo’s Road Café and showered its Facebook account with bad reviews.

The incident has gained enough traction online to prompt local authorities to step in. On September 16, head of the Hoi An Department of Culture and Information Nguyen Van Lanh issued an official report on the Cyclo’s Road Café case. According to Thanh Nien, after investigating into the café, the department confirmed that P. was refused service.

“[The incident] could have happened due to subjective or objective reasons, but city authorities do not condone this and neither do the majority of Hoi An citizens,” the document reads. It also acknowledges that there are times when tourists in Hoi An, Vietnamese or foreign, misbehave, causing conflicts between tourists and locals.

[Photo by Karl M via TripAdvisor]

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