RIVERSIDE (CBSLA) — A man was denied service at a Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf location in Riverside on Friday after making comments to a woman wearing a niqab that have been perceived by many as Islamophobic.
“The staff here tried to get him out right away,” a man who witnessed the encounter told CBS2’s Michele Gile. “This was clearly such a racist attack.”
Video of the incident, which was posted on Twitter by journalist CJ Werleman, begins with the woman involved in the altercation asking the man standing in front of her in line to repeat a comment he made.
WARNING: The following video contains strong language.
“I said, is this Halloween or something?” the man answered.
The woman can then be heard asking the man why he would say that. He responds, “Why wouldn’t I?”
The woman then tells the man she is a Muslim and asks if he has a problem with that.
“I don’t like it, how’s that,” the man replies. “I don’t like that because I don’t like your religion. It says to kill me and I don’t want to be killed by you. How’s that?”
Following the man’s response, the two begin yelling at each other and arguing over religion, with the woman asking the man if he is scared of her and if he has read the Quran, to which he responds: “I’ve read enough of it to know.”
The man can then be seen trying to distance himself from the woman and confrontation, repeatedly telling the woman to “back off.”
One of the employees behind the counter then asks the two to separate, while another customer can be heard yelling at the man, telling him to leave the store and calling him a racist.
A woman, who identified herself as the supervisor on duty, then asked the man to leave.
The woman asked the supervisor, “Why are you not serving him?” She replied, “Because he is disrupting a public place and being very racist.”
Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf released a statement, saying: “We have a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to discrimination of any kind, and have the right to refuse service to any person who makes customers or team members feel endangered in any way.”
After video of the encounter surfaced, a number of people took to Twitter to praise the store and the supervisor for their actions.