Last Friday, a video showing a man verbally assaulting a manager at a Brooklyn branch of the Blink Fitness gym began to go viral after user @bobrosspoop uploaded it to TikTok. The video shows the man, dressed in a suit and tie while not wearing a mask, storming out after telling an Asian-American manager “go back to China, that’s what you need to do.”
“He threw his mask on the floor and proceeded to be extremely racist to the manager, who is by the way the nicest man,” @bobrosspoop wrote in the video description.
Yang Chen, an acquaintance of the gym manager who saw the video on social media, has been sharing it on social media in an effort to raise awareness to the rise in hate crimes against Asian-Americans reported in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak. Stories of senior citizens being attacked on the street have made headlines since the beginning of the year as advocates push bystanders to speak up and denounce not only the most blatant attacks but also daily instances of hate in one’s daily life.
“I can vouch that he is a very kind and generous man who would never go out his way to hurt somebody. He deals with everything in a professional manner,” Chen told Asian-American news outlet NextShark. “When I saw this video, I did not need to know the background story to figure out that he was in the right… I want people to know that these forms of hate crimes aren’t always made public. In fact, I’ve had people verbally harass me on trains and even attempt to spit on me due to the fact that I was Asian.”
On Tuesday, Chen tweeted that Century 21 had let go of the agent, identified as Edward Rodriguez. A representative from the company confirmed the brokerage had severed times with Rodriguez.
Although Chen shut down the account after being inundated with messages, he urged people to follow the #StopAsianHateCrimes and #StopAAPIHate to learn more about anti-Asian attacks taking place across the country.
Century 21 told Inman that its franchises are independently owned and take on agents as contractors rather than employees. When the corporate office heard about the incident, they reached out to the brokerage and learned that the person had already been let go.
“Upon learning of this incident, our corporate team was in touch with the Broker in charge of this franchise office, and we were informed that the sales associate in question was immediately disassociated from the brokerage office,” a Century 21 spokesperson told Inman in an email. “Once again, Century 21 LLC does not condone or tolerate racism or discrimination. The immediate manner in which this matter was addressed by our franchise office represents that our core values have been upheld.”