Chester’s Hamburgers responds to ‘outrage’ caused by ‘Don’t Buy Chinese’ marquee

Megan Armstrong San Antonio News

Updated 4:57 pm CDT, Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Chester’s Hamburger’s, a longtime San Antonio chain, is responding to feelings of ‘outrage and disgust’ caused by a marquee message at one of the locations.

“Don’t buy Chinese […] buy American,” read the sign at the 1006 N.E. Loop 410 location. It’s unclear if any other Chester’s Hamburger’s bore the same message.

Though the Loop 410 location shares the outdoor sign space with other businesses, owner Dale Mabry confirmed the message came from his business.

“Regarding the marquee at Chesters Hambugers, there is no implied meaning other than to buy American products and not products from communist China,” Mabry said Wednesday when reached by email. “We have already changed the marquee copy.”

The Asian American Alliance of San Antonio was one of the first to sound the alarm on the sign via social media. Kin Yan Hui, president of the local chapter of the Asian American organization, says he’s satisfied with the removal and considers the matter to be “concluded,” but spoke to the anger that was felt throughout the community when it was brought to his attention on Tuesday.

“There was outrage and disgust by the Asian American Alliance of San Antonio,” he added.

Hui said he’s aware of xenophobia toward Asian Americans happening elsewhere in response to the coronavirus pandemic, but said the marquee was the first he is aware of where the community was “singled out” in San Antonio. He says racism against the Asian American community usually experiences locally is typically shown in the form of “unwelcoming looks.”

“While it has happened, it is rare that racism related to violent acts are taken against Asian Americans in San Antonio,” Hui said.

Though uncommon to Hui, he said the anger “permeated” throughout San Antonio.

Chester’s Hamburgers has been embroiled in controversy before. In July 2016, the Universal City location was the site of a viral video in which a customer hurled racist comments at a black family. Though staff was not involved, the restaurant was criticized for “lack of response” during the incident, the Current reported. The controversy spilled over online, where some suggested a boycott of the restaurant in response to a Chester’s Hamburger employee later fueling the debate with more derogatory comments.

Hui says the marquee now advertises the restaurant’s phone number for take-out orders. The Asian American Alliance of San Antonio has since deleted a post on their Facebook page showing the sign.

Madalyn Mendoza covers news and puro pop culture for | [email protected] | @maddyskye