MARYLAND - In this day and age, joking about a racial stereotype is sure to make one a social pariah.
This is what happened to an African-American in Maryland, United States who drew ire for asking Asian vendors if they sell fried cat.
The netizen, @cool_ant, uploaded Instagram videos of himself holding a couple of dollars and going around to ask Asian vendors if they sell fried cats. He even went as far as to “meow” to explain his strange request in a series of now-deleted posts.
On the first stall he went to, a baffled male vendor told him the store next door sells what he was looking for.
When he paid a visit to the said store, the woman manning the shop was angered by his “crazy” request. She threatened to call the police on the male vendor who told the black man she sells a fried cat.
After @cool_ant’s videos were slammed by Instagram users, the netizen deleted said posts. However, another Instagram user, @zone_15_thug_x2, re-uploaded the videos last Saturday, Nov 17.
The antics of @cool_ant have also made its way to Twitter, courtesy of Kee Perico (@Maxx_kee) who re-uploaded his second video on Saturday. Her post, which had gone viral, has garnered over 10.6 million views, 16,800 retweets and 45,900 likes, as of this writing.
Twitter users took to the comments section of the post to assert that what @cool_ant did was “racist and disrespectful.”
They also expressed their sadness over other netizens who find the video funny.
Following the backlash @cool_ant received, street-inspired fashion-and-footwear seller DTLR Inc., who apparently employs the black man, issued a statement via Twitter on Monday, Nov 19.
The company said that they are aware of the issue and that they do not support racism of any kind. DTLR Inc. also said that they are working to address the situation.
“We are aware that one of our employees posted a racist and insensitive video recently on his personal social media accounts,” the official account of the company stated.
“We agree with the criticism that this content has generated — we in no way support racism of any kind.”
Meanwhile, @cool_ant apologized yesterday, Nov. 20, to all those who have been offended by his videos on Instagram.
“My actions lacked compassion and promoted racial stereotypes which is completely unacceptable,” @cool_ant wrote. “Again, my sincere apologies for the pain and offense I have caused.”
It appears the racial stereotype of Asians eating cats does not only exist in the U.S. Here in the Philippines, an urban legend exists about Chinese-Filipinos allegedly putting cat meat in siopao (steamed buns). In Reddit, Filipino netizens talked about how this particular urban legend was used to discredit patronage of Chinese restaurants.