Racially abused in a Pizza Hut with threats of violence

Reporter is

Nature of Incident

In-person harrassment, slurs or threats of violence

My name is [Redacted]. I am from India and an entrepreneur living in Singapore. I wanted to bring your attention to a very traumatizing incident that happened to me at one of the Pizza Hut outlets here.

To cut a long story short, I was politely waiting for service at a queue that said “collections” at a Pizza Hut outlet in Singapore (888 Plaza) after ordering a pizza online for carry-out. I noticed there were three service staff, two of whom were chatting and having fun, while the third was busy attending to customers who were ordering. All of them noticed me but failed to serve me even after a few minutes of waiting.

When I questioned this, I was rudely asked if I was blind pointing to the other queue by one of the staff. When I questioned them if they had any manners to speak to me like this without knowing am waiting for carry-out, I was racially abused as “fucking Indian” while asking me “if I were Singaporean” and to “go back to my country” if I don’t know how to queue. When I raised my voice against such abusive language and racist comments, I was threatened with physical violence with aggressive posturing by two of the staff and asked to “fuck off” and “get out” by all three.

The duty manager who came running out hearing the commotion only managed to apologize on his staff’s behalf while they were constantly abusing me verbally even as I was speaking to him. But he failed to stop them or take action immediately and only asked me that I leave and not argue (against the abuse and racism that was going on) with them for my own good. I left soon totally shaken by the incident, fearing violence from a rowdy gang and without my Pizza for dinner.

In my eight years of being in Singapore, I haven’t faced explicit aggression in any form like this before. Though have always felt some racism and xenophobia in the air and had some minor racism incidents, nothing like this before in a global restaurant chain here. My Indian friends have told me about racist comments, abuses and have been asked to go back. But this is the first time I faced such an ugly thing myself, and it has left me shaken.

After the incident, I had called the customer service hotline and only received a response like “what do you want me to do about this” after I narrated what happened. For which I had asked them to take it seriously and escalate it. But since I did not hear back in a day, I escalated it myself to the local manager who apologized and said will investigate. I wanted him to save the video footage from time which must have recorded the staff’s abuse and intent to assault me. But nothing happened for a week, and I got a feeling they will let it pass. So I wrote to the CEO, and it got escalated, immediately they fired one staff who they claim was the guy who must have racially abused me, and he was a contracted staff. But the others were let off without as much a warning and only subject to a performance review. It is a shame such a big, global company in Singapore works this way and hires such uncouth and rowdy staff. And that even after a complaint here locally, takes it so easily and doesn\'t even offer to serve me the pizza I ordered and was denied service. What a shame!

There must be no place for discrimination, racism, and abuse in any society. And I believe citizens of Singapore, leaving all sense of xenophobia and racist tendencies, will stand up against a similar incident anywhere else like what happened to me by sending a clear message supporting the victim even if they look different from them, speak different accent, and have a different skin color. And not be mute spectators assuming if it is a foreigner of a particular race involved, they must be at fault. So this does not happen to anybody else in Pizza Hut or anywhere else in Singapore.


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