SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 5) — An alleged incident of anti-Asian racism against a San Francisco sports bar posted on TikTok has been vehemently denied by the owner of the family-owned establishment, who first spoke exclusively with KPIX 5 and is now getting death threats and a flood of negative reviews.
The video was posted Sunday from the account of Sofia Enguillado, who alleged her 18-year-old son was attacked outside Gino and Carlo, a cocktail lounge established in 1942 on the 500 block of Green St. in the city’s North Beach neighborhood. The video shows images of a young Asian man who has a bruise and swelling on one side of his face.READ MORE: UPDATE: Santa Rosa Flooding Forces Evacuations in Bennett Valley; Schools Closed
In a Facebook post, Enguillado, who is of Filipino descent, said the owner of the bar had her son kicked out of the bar, despite her son insisting that he was waiting on his family, who were visiting San Francisco for Easter weekend. Enguillado claimed a person connected to the restaurant punched her son after saying “You don’t even belong here.”
The son, C.J. Enguillado, said he was sitting alone in an area outside the bar while waiting for his parents, thinking it was open seating.
He acknowledged to KPIX 5 that the bar owner had told him to leave several times, after learning he was underage.
Enguillado said he refused to leave, because he was waiting for his parents to return.
“By the way it sounded, he said, ‘Get the f— out of here, you don’t belong here,” that’s what he said, and I cannot forget those words,” he said. “That’s, like, traumatizing to me.”
San Francisco police said officers responded at about 5:27 p.m. to a commotion on the sidewalk and found an adult male who had been struck during a physical altercation and who suffered non-life threatening injuries.
A suspect was arrested and charged with assault and battery, but police did not release the suspect’s identity. The motive was not disclosed but police said it did not appear racism or hate was a factor.
“We do not have evidence to believe this incident was predicated by hate,” police said in a statement.READ MORE: UPDATE: Streets Flood in San Rafael, Mill Valley as Wild Storm Lashes Bay Area
Gina and Carlo owner Frank Rossi said the man was asked to leave numerous times, not because of his race, but because it’s against city guidelines to people under age 21 in the bar’s outdoor seating area.
“I am not a racist, in fact I kick people out of my bar, when they say racist things,” said Rossi.
Rossi said the man was told, “‘You have to leave this area, you are not allowed in this area, this is our area. It’s considered inside the bar, even though it’s outside, it’s like a bar. You cannot – you’re under 21,'” said Rossi. “And he was adamant.”
That’s when Rossi says a bystander and patron of the bar got involved and punched Enguillado.
“I went nuts when he hit him, went nuts,” said Rossi. “I could not believe he did it. There was no threat, no threat. I was completely caught off guard by it.”
A caption on the TikTok video showing the man’s injuries says, “If you’re Asian, this is the type of service you get waiting for pizza.” Following the flood of negative comments and one-star reviews on Yelp, the rating service disabled reviews, saying that while it rejects racism, reviews must be from first-hand customer accounts.
Rossi also says he’s received a series of death threats. To the family who is accusing him of being a racist, “I want to say that they’re mistaken, their son shouldn’t have been hit. [The man arrested] doesn’t work for us, he never did work for us. He’s just a customer. Sorry it happened, but it wasn’t racism at all, or a hate crime against Asians.”
Nelson Lum is a retired SFPD sergeant and member of the SF Asian Police Officers Association. He spent two decades covering the North Beach area. He also knows the owner and his father and stated that the bar has always been welcoming and treats customers equally. Lum said no calls he’s ever responded to at Gino and Carlo have ever been related to racism or hate incidents.
“False accusation is something that we must all ban against, because if we start crying wolf on everything then when the real situation take place, there will be a lot less merit,” Lum told KPIX 5.MORE NEWS: Atmospheric River: High Winds Topple Trees, Scaffolding in San Francisco
Enguillado’s parents family made a separate Facebook video encouraging people to leave reviews on the bar’s Yelp page.