Kisuk Cha and his girlfriend had filed a lawsuit against the eatery chain — known for its scantily clad waitresses — in Brooklyn federal court on Monday charging that when they dropped by the Fresh Meadows joint on July 1 to order takeout, the jaw-dropping racist slur was printed on their receipt.
The derogatory word to describe Chinese people was typed into the line for “Check ID.” The server was listed as “220 Shenika.”
But a lawyer for the Hooters franchisee said the server actually had no role in the slur.
“A 20-year-old hostess came forward and admitted she was the person who did this,” said Edward McCabe, who was hired by the local franchisees to investigate the matter.
The hostess has resigned, he said.
“We believe this incident to be isolated and is in no way indicative of the brand as a whole,” said Hooters general counsel Claudia Koeppel Levitas.
McCabe said the company went through three months of receipts looking for any other racists remarks and found none.
But Cha’s lawyer, Daniel Baek, insisted the problem is more widespread than the chain is letting on.
“This is not an isolated incident,” Baek said. “There are a rash of cases across the country where customers were identified on their credit card and store . . . receipts by racial slurs.
“Unfortunately, customers of color must be vigilant to double check their receipts to see what’s being said about them,’’ he said.
“The law is very clear — you can hate Asians all you want, but the moment one walks into your place of business he is entitled to equal protection. And despite what Hooters may think, the business is responsible for the actions of their employees.”
The slur used against Cha is tantamount to “the ‘N word’ for Asians,” his lawyer said.
Hooters, the franchise owners, “220 Shenika” and a “Jane Doe” — “who conspired with ‘220 Shenika’ to violate plaintiff’s civil rights” — were all named as defendants in the suit.
According to the complaint, Cha walked into the restaurant to get a simple order of Buffalo shrimp and wings to go — and wound up nauseated.
“He wanted to confront his server but was paralyzed with anguish. He could not eat the food he had just bought as his stomach was churning, and he could not be sure that someone had not spit in his food,” the complaint said.
This Hooters incident has a bad smell similar to an episode at a Papa John’s in Harlem earlier this year, when a Korean-American customer was identified as “lady chinky eyes” on a receipt by the pizza makers.Additional reporting by David K. Li