A TikToker is under fire after comparing an Asian grocery store to a pet store and making other racist remarks in a now-deleted video.
The Tik Toker (@modelvsfood) shared a video joking about a trip to an Asian grocery store. “If you’ve never been to an Asian grocery store, you’re about to be shocked,” he said in the opening clip. Next, he showed off a series of foods he found inside the store while making faces and simulating gagging.
“And, they even have a pet store here, where you can catch all the animals you want,” the TikToker said, pointing to the tanks where he picked up a live crab from the store.
Although the TikTok video has since been deleted, another TikToker named Michael (@chachamyeonmikal) recorded the video and stitched it together with his own video calling out the other creator.
@chachamyeonmikal during the AAPI month? @JoelHansen #aapiheritagemonth #spotlightapi #racism #asiatiktok ♬ original sound – Michael
Michael says the deleted video was about three minutes long, but he had to stop watching after the comment about the existence of a pet store.
“Like you need to know how bad it sounds and how bad it looks,” Michael says in the video. “It’s a bit racist.
He also points out that the original video was captioned with multiple hashtags, including #shocking, #ew, #gross, and #shockingfoodchallenge.
“And all this during AAPI Heritage Month? » asks Michael. “During a time when anti-Asian hate crimes are at an all-time high due to racist overtones of what Asians eat, your video may go viral, but probably not for the reasons you intended.”
In a second TikTok video, Michael shows another clip from the now-deleted video. In the clip, the original TikToker shows a small child pushing a mini grocery cart and saying, “We have customers in training.”
@chachamyeonmikal Reply to @itsjessicaxu here is the clip #videogreenscreen #aapi ♬ original sound – Michael
Michael calls the TikToker, saying it appears neither the child nor his parents knew they were registered for a TikTok.
“And during AAPI month, it seems racist to be treated that way,” Michael says in the video, referring to Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month which is observed in the United States until April. May. “He should know better. Even if his intention was not to be racist, it always happens that way.
In response to the backlash, user @modelvsfood posted a six-minute apology video after deleting the original.
“No apologies. I’m sorry. I can’t change the past, but I can change the future. I’ll do better. Thank you,” the video’s caption read.
In the video, the TikToker says, “I truly regret what was posted, how it was posted, and I truly take responsibility, and I sincerely apologize.”
The TikToker promises that nothing like this will happen again on its page and continues to apologize throughout the video. He then recaps the video he had deleted, trying to explain the thought process behind some of the comments he made.
“I never said the words ‘weird’ [or] ‘disgusting,’ he says in the apology video. “I just kind of wanted to show some items that you can’t normally buy at a North American grocery store.”
The TikToker adds that he is an “ally” of other cultures and has always tried to respect and appreciate different cultures. He claims he has always tried to promote acceptance and hopes he can be forgiven for his Asian grocery video.
For some viewers, the apology video wasn’t enough.
“Thank you for doing the bare minimum,” a viewer commented on the video.
Other users said the TikToker should apologize to the grocery store owner and employees.
“Go to the store and apologize,” one user said.
“You need to go to this store and apologize to the workers,” another user wrote.
A third viewer commented, “You should definitely go to the store and personally apologize.”
The Daily Dot reached out to users @modelvsfood and @chachamyeonmikal via TikTok comments.
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*First published: May 28, 2022, 2:23 p.m. CDT
Cecilia Lenzen is a journalism student at the University of Texas at Arlington and a freelance writer for the Daily Dot.