An eighteen-year-old Filipino-American was punched in the face outside Gino and Carlo bar in North Beach, San Francisco, California. In a TikTok video, the family of CJ Enguillado accused the bar owner of kicking CJ out of the bar because he was Asian which sparked the assault, reports CBS SF Bay Area. The TikTok video went viral causing a backlash against the bar. However, the owner Frank Rossi has denied the allegations that the incident stemmed from racism.
The incident started on Friday around 5:30 pm. CJ Enguillado sat alone outside Gino and Carlo bar thinking it was opened seating. According to CJ, Rossi came out and told him to leave because he didn’t belong here.
“By the way it sounded, he said, ‘Get the f**k out of here you don’t belong here,’ that’s exactly what he said and I can’t forget those words,” CJ said. “I can’t forget those words that’s traumatizing to me.”
But Rossi said he came out and told CJ to leave because he was underage.
“You have to leave this area,” Rossi recalled what he told CJ. “You are not allowed in this area. This is our area. It’s considered inside this bar and he was adamant.”
CJ told CBS News San Francisco that he was seated waiting for his parents to arrive. He admitted Rossi told him to leave several times after Rossi learned he was underage but he refused because he was waiting for his parents.
Shortly after, Rossi said a patron of the bar and a bystander got involved. One of the men punched CJ and Rossi said he went “nuts” when he was hit.
“I could not believe he did it,” Rossi said. “This guy was no threat. No threat. I was completely horrified by it.”
Rossi added that there was no racism involved.
“They are mistaken,” Rossi said. “Their son shouldn’t be hit but we had nothing to do with it. The [expletive] doesn’t work for us, he never did work for us. He’s just a customer. I’m sorry it happened but it wasn’t racist at all.”
The suspect who hit the man has been arrested and faces charges of assault and battery. Police said there is no evidence racism played a role in the incident.
The TikTok video posted by Enguillado’s mother, Sofia has resulted in false-negative reviews on Yelp and death threats against Rossi and his family, reports CBS News San Francisco. Yelp has for now disabled the review section for Gino and Carlo bar.
A retired SFPD officer Nelson Lum vouched for Frank Rossi. He said the owners are welcoming of all customers and the bar never received a call relating to hate or racism.
“False accusation is something that we must all ban against, because if we start crying wolf on everything then when the real situation takes place, there will be less merit,” Lum told CBS News San Francisco.