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Eatery Hit With Racist Graffiti After Owner Pans Mask Move

He criticized decision to lift Texas mask mandate
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 15, 2021 2:30 PM CDT

(Newser) – "NO MASK." "KUNG FLU." "Go back 2 China." San Antonio man Mike Nguyen says he found those and other messages painted on the front of his Noodle Tree ramen shop days after he went on TV to criticize Gov. Greg Abbott's lifting of the Texas mask mandate, reports the San Antonio Express-News. The 33-year-old, who is immunocompromised due to cancer treatment, told CNN that Abbott's move was "selfish and cowardly," and that he would continue to require customers to wear masks when they were not eating. He says he received death threats after the appearance last Wednesday and found the racist graffiti on his restaurant's windows on Sunday.

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Nguyen say the most hurtful message was one saying "hope U DIE." "To wish harm or death on someone who's just expressing their opinion ... that's very upsetting," he tells KSAT. During the CNN interview, he said he was worried that lifting the mask mandate would increase attacks on Asian Americans during confrontations over masks. He tells the Washington Post that he opened late on Sunday after debating whether to open at all—and the first customer volunteered to help him clean the graffiti off. Other strangers soon turned up with cleaning supplies. "Something like that, it’s very touching and very moving because my day started off with a lot of anger, hostility and I was hurt by this," Nguyen says. "And to see the support and the love of the community, it kind of helps you heal a little." (Read more Texas stories.)

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