Two sisters were visiting the Fox Valley Mall in Aurora, Illinois, and to their surprise, it wasn’t just a routine visit. User @labellamonay recorded their daunting experience in a viral TikTok after her sister was allegedly refused service at Nori Japan restaurant because of her skin color.
The video has received 1.3 million views and is climbing. In the opening scene, the camera was centered on the Nori Japan employee as he appeared to continue cooking and serving food.
A voice behind the camera questions the employee.
@labellamonay Yes this is in 2021. Man refuses to serve blac customers. Blow this up so the world can see. #fyp ♬ original sound – Labella Monay 🌹
“Excuse me, did you tell my sister you weren’t going to serve her because she’s Black?” she asked.
“I [don’t] like her. Let’s go. No more here,” the employee responds.
“Cause she’s Black? Cause another Black person took your food and didn’t pay, you’re not going to serve my sister?” the Tiktok user continues.
The employee allegedly didn’t provide service to the pair of women because of an incident that involved another Black person not paying him for food.
“You can’t do that, sir. That’s discrimination. You can’t tell her you’re not going to serve her cause she’s Black because of what someone else did today,” she says.
The employee explained that he’d encountered a lot of people who hadn’t paid.
“Well, what’s worse, the person that we don’t know not paying you $5 or us suing you for discrimination?” she asks him.
“I don’t know. Same face,” he said.
“Oh, cause we all have the same face?” she asks.
The Tik Toker would not let up and made it clear that she wanted the employee held accountable for his actions. She urged viewers not to spend money with the vendor and dropped the mall’s location.
As the video circulated, an outpouring of commenters empathized with the employee.
“He’s wrong, but I also understand him. This man is traumatized and hurt. Understanding should come from both sides,” one comment said.
“He has the right to refuse service,” said another.
In response, user @labellamonay posted a follow-up video citing the Civil Rights Act of 1964, prohibiting discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.
“It’s really scary that a lot of you guys don’t understand what this means, and it means that you cannot deny service to anyone based on these reasons. And that’s what this guy did,” she said.