Korean American entrepreneur Sophia Chang Told by Prudential Employee James Hilbrant to ‘Go Back to Wuhan’ While Having Lunch at Bluewater Grill in Newport Beach

The man who told Korean American entrepreneur Sophia Chang to “go back to Wuhan” while out having lunch with her sister has been allegedly identified as James Hilbrant of Orange County, California.

According to his LinkedIn page, Hilbrant works as a “financial professional” for Prudential Advisors and can “provide assistance on a range of financial issues-from evaluating insurance needs to helping clients grow their assets.” On Tuesday, Sept. 15, LinkedIn and Facebook profiles associated with Hilbrant were deactivated.

The incident happened at Bluewater Grill in Newport Beach, California over the weekend when Chang was having lunch with her sister. Hilbrant made eye contact with Chang while he was heading to the bathroom and allegedly told her to “go back to Wuhan.”

“Once he returned, we asked him why he would say that and he goes ‘I don’t speak Chinese, I don’t know what you’re talking about,’” Chang said in her Instagram post. “I’m so disgusted. If you see people practicing this sort of behavior. REPORT THEM.”

Hilbrant was reportedly asked by a staff member to leave the restaurant but didn’t leave immediately.

“I believe he personally knew the waitress who was serving him, because she gave him a hug before they left,”Chang said. “They were chatting for a bit so it took awhile for them to leave.”

In a statement posted on Instagram, Bluewater Grill said they “immediately addressed the situation with the customer and asked them to leave.”

“We understand that some feel there was a lack of urgency in removing this patron from the premises,” the statement continued, “However, the safety of all our customers and staff is our utmost concern and we wanted to make sure this situation did not escalate and become hostile.”

Bluewater Grill continued to note that it took the customer 10 minutes before he could pay for his bill and leave the premises as well as the hug that happened between him and one of the staff.

“Within 10 minutes the person paid their bill and left the premises. There is also mention of the customer hugging our employee, and we would like to make it clear that this was unsolicited and occurred before our employee was made aware of the situation.”

“After the patron left, we made sure that our guests were comfortable and well taken care of. The patron in question is no longer welcome at Bluewater Grill.”

Bluewater Grill, which has been in business for 24 years, said they pride themselves “on our customer service, diverse staff and commitment to a safe environment free of racism or harassment.”

“We do not condone prejudice or racism in any form. This includes remarks made by customers which we cannot control. We take matters like this seriously and are disgusted that any guest would be subjected to an insensitive remark by another guest.”

Prudential Advisors told NextShark, “Prudential has zero tolerance for discrimination and takes these allegations very seriously. This matter will be investigated to the fullest extent possible and appropriate action will be taken, as warranted.”

Source: NextShark

What it’s Like Being on an Empty Cruise Ship During Covid-19 — “Everything is shut down, lights are off, furniture is covered up. It’s a ghost ship.”

For the cruise liner industry, the COVID-19 pandemic officially began on March 14. That’s when the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a “no sail” order on all cruise ships operating in US waters. At that point thousands of people were falling ill on various ships around the world, pitching the industry into damage control. From there, individual companies suspended cruises one by one, putting the industry on hold.

We spoke to a man named Jeff Birmingham about what it’s like being one of 99 people onboard a stationary cruise ship designed for 6,000. Jeff describes being alone for most of the day and how the industry is faring from an insider perspective.

Tell us about where you are at the moment.
I’m offshore of Singapore in what I can only describe as the biggest ship parking lot I’ve ever seen. My contract is through February of next year and I’m not sure if I’ll touch dry land before then. As of now, we’ve been told not to expect that.

How does it feel to be on an almost empty cruise liner?
It’s surreal. This ship was built to host thousands of people and I’ve spent years on this ship experiencing it as it was designed. But walking around now, the ship feels lifeless and empty. It’s in stasis waiting for the world to sort itself out so it can go back to what it’s designed to do. Everything is shut down, lights are off, furniture is covered up. It’s a ghost ship.

What do you do everyday? Is there enough work to keep you busy or do you get bored?
I’m not really ever bored. My department usually has about 150 people but now it’s just me to deal with all the paperwork and inspections. It’s an overwhelming amount of work keeping the ship in the kind of condition it needs to stay in so it can go back into service. Plus, since there is very little to do socially the work basically takes all my time. I’ve been here over a month and it feels like I just got here.

Source: Vice

LA County Begins Program to Combat Acts of Hate After Rise of Racism Towards Asian Americans Due to Coronavirus Pandemic

Responding to what officials called increased acts of hate in recent years, most notably against Asian-Americans due to the coronavirus pandemic, Los Angeles County on Wednesday announced a campaign aimed at encouraging reporting of such incidents and responding to them.

The “L.A. vs Hate” campaign is a three-pronged effort that will include a marketing outreach campaign encouraging people to report acts of hate, improved resources for residents to report such acts through the county’s 211 hotline and a network of agencies to assist victims and develop prevention strategies.

“L.A. County is one of the most culturally diverse and vibrant communities in the world,” Supervisor Hilda Solis said. “Despite our diversity, these past few years have seen a steady rise in reported hate acts in our county. We also know that as a result of COVID-19, there has been an ugly backlash toward our Asian-Pacific Islander community. Spikes in calls to the 211 hotline reflect that racism.”

Source: NBC LA

Nickelodeon pulls ‘Made By Maddie’ after social media users questioned the animated show’s similarities to Matthew A. Cherry’s Oscar-winning short ‘Hair Love’

Nickelodeon is pulling animated show Made by Maddie off its schedule in response to a controversy about similarities between its characters and those in the Oscar-winning short Hair Love.

The show had been set to premiere Sept. 13 on Nick Jr., the ViacomCBS network’s preschool channel. After Nickelodeon released a teaser for the show earlier in the week, the show drew criticism on social media for its characters’ resemblance to those in Hair Love, the short written and co-directed by Matthew A. Cherry that won the Oscar for best animated short earlier this year.

“Made by Maddie is a show we acquired several years ago from Silvergate Media, a renowned production company we have previously worked with on other series. Since announcing the show’s premiere date this week, we have been listening closely to the commentary, criticism and concern coming from both viewers and members of the creative community,” Nickelodeon said in a statement.

“In response, and out of respect to all voices in the conversation, we are removing the show from our schedule as we garner further insight into the creative journey of the show. We are grateful to Silvergate Media for all of their work. And we hold Matthew A. Cherry and the wonderful and inspiring Hair Love in the highest regard.”

Made by Maddie centers on an 8-year-old Black girl who uses her fashion sense and design skills to solve problems, along with the help of some friends and her parents, Dee and Rashad. Maddie frequently wears a pink headband in her hair, while Dee is depicted with natural hair and Rashad with locs. The families in both projects also have pet cats.

The mom and dad in Hair Love also have natural hair and locs, respectively, and the little girl, Zuri, also wears a pink headband. The similarities sparked a wave of criticism on social media, with users accusing Silvergate Media and Nickelodeon of copying Cherry’s work. Cherry hasn’t spoken on the matter but did retweet or reply to several posts calling out the resemblance, including the one below.

Source: The Hollywood Reporter

Here are the new Charlotte Hornets uniforms, and everything you need to know about them

Charlotte Hornets fans have loved the teal pinstripes since 1988. The team listened and learned.

Next season’s primary uniforms will be white jerseys with teal pinstripes and teal jerseys with white pinstripes, the Hornets announced Monday. They won’t quite be direct replicas of Alexander Julian’s iconic design, but they’re close.

The new look will be available to fans for retail purchase Oct. 1.

When the Bobcats re-branded to the Hornets’ name and look in the spring of 2014, they adopted the original teal and purple color scheme. However, the uniforms were dissimilar to Julian’s pinstripe-and-pleats look, which so contributed to the expansion team’s popularity in the early 1990s. They were teal as the dominant color, but had broader stripes down the side of jerseys.

The Hornets wore replicas of the original uniforms for a handful of games each of the past three seasons, and again that uniform was wildly popular. So, this new design owes heavily to that look.

“We really had our ear to the ground listening to our fans’ comments, many of which through social media,” said Seth Bennett, Hornets senior vice president for consumer engagement. “As we were unveiling some of the uniforms, we kind of paid attention to the feedback and comments we were getting. And some of the polls that we used, to see the popularity of various uniforms.

“We definitely used that to inform the process.”

Under NBA rules, Bennett said, the Hornets couldn’t change the look of their primary uniforms for at least five years.

The Hornets will wear the new pinstripe uniforms most games next season. There will be two other uniforms available: Purple ones with “CHA” stenciled across the chest and an updated version of the “city edition,” to be unveiled later. Most recently, that “city edition” was a gray uniform with “CHA” across the chest.

The rebrand to Hornets has been a success: Bennett said the Hornets have been in the top half of the NBA in merchandise sales consistently since the switch from Bobcats to Hornets

The original classic uniforms, worn by the likes of Larry Johnson, Dell Curry and Muggsy Bogues, will now only be available for celebrating anniversaries. Bennett said, “it will be a few seasons before you see those classic jerseys again.”

Source: The Charlotte Observer

Outdoor dining and drinking is allowed. But is it safe? 7 questions about outdoor dining and drinking in the pandemic, answered

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1) Why is outside dining and drinking considered safer?

In an outdoor space, “there would generally be much more air movement, so particles containing the virus would dissipate faster,” he told me.

2) What counts as “outdoors”?

“I think large tents with a top and open sides can still be called outside. In hotter climates and on sunnier days, the shade protection is necessary for comfort and sun protection,” Gloster said. “Air can still circulate freely in those environments.”

3) Are we putting staff at risk?

Yes. The general rule is every time we expose ourselves to more people, we increase our risk to ourselves and to the people we come into contact with. This is why health directives have specifically said to minimize nonessential trips and contact with other people.

4) What can bars and restaurants do to keep patrons safe?

If you’re trying to assess whether the restaurant you’re considering eating at is taking precautions seriously, distanced tables, masked staff, and enhanced sanitation measures are all hallmarks to look out for.

5) So how are we supposed to eat and drink with masks on?

“Keep your mask on while waiting for your food, take it off and eat, and then put it back on when you are done is the best strategy,” she said. “Make sure that you put your mask away and not just on the table unless you have sanitized it or you feel it’s a clean surface.”

6) Who should we be eating with?

The ongoing advice from health officials has been that the people we live with — families, roommates, significant others — are the only people we should be interacting with. That’s because we share the same environments and risk levels with said people and, ideally, have open communication about things like commutes, essential trips, etc., that we are taking.

7) What’s working in South Korea? And can it work here?

One of the things South Korea has been able to do well is not only get its citizens to buy into the social distancing measures, but also supplement that with robust and extensive contact tracing — essentially testing as many people as possible who were in contact with someone who was sick.

Source: Vox

President Donald Trump Mispronounces Thailand As ‘Thighland’ At A Campaign Event, Social Media Users Poke Fun

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Social media users poked fun at President Donald Trump after he mispronounced Thailand as “Thighland” at a campaign event on Thursday.

The blunder occurred at a Whirlpool plant in Ohio, according to the New York Daily News.

In his speech, Trump spoke about how the American manufacturer’s competitors had shifted their “production to ‘Thighland’ and to Vietnam.”

However, he repeated himself and corrected his pronunciation of the Southeast Asian country.

“Thailand and Vietnam, two places that… I like their leaders very much.”

Social media users were quick to catch the slip-up.

Source: NextShark

TikTok/YouTube stars Alan & Alex Stokes (Stokes Twins) charged with felony after fake Irvine bank robbery pranks that led to police responses at Metropolis Apartments & UC Irvine

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Two 23-year old twins face criminal charges for a prank in which authorities say they staged a fake bank robbery in Irvine that resulted in a police response, including officers holding an unsuspecting Uber driver at gunpoint.

Alan and Alex Stokes, 23, of Irvine each were charged with a felony count of false imprisonment and a misdemeanor count of falsely reporting an emergency, according to the Orange County District Attorney’s Office.

Prosecutors allege that around 2:30 p.m. on Oct. 15, 2019, the brothers – dressed in black, wearing ski masks and carrying duffel bags full of cash – pretended like they had just robbed a bank, while their videographer filmed them.

According to the DA’s office, the brothers ordered an Uber, but the driver – who was unaware of the alleged prank – refused to drive them anywhere. A bystander, believing the two men had robbed a bank and were trying to carjack the driver, called 911.

Irvine officers ordered the Uber driver out of the car at gunpoint, then released him after determining he hadn’t committed a crime. The officers let the Stokes brothers go with a warning, according to the DA’s office.

Prosecutors allege that four hours later the brothers carried out a similar prank on the UC Irvine campus, and officers once again responded to reports of a bank being robbed. The men left before officers arrived.

Source: OC Register

Facebook launches Instagram Reels in 50 countries, hoping to lure TikTok users

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With TikTok’s future uncertain, Instagram is hoping to lure some creators away with the rollout of a direct competitor, Reels, which is launching in more than 50 countries today, including the US, UK, Japan, and Australia, on both iOS and Android.

Similar to TikTok, Reels lets people create short-form videos set to music that can be shared with friends and followers and discovered while browsing the app. It’s the newest opportunity for Instagram to bring in users, increase the amount of time people spend in the app every day, and establish itself as a video entertainment platform.

Reels allows people to record videos up to 15 seconds long and add popular music, as well as an array of filters and effects, over top of them. For creators looking to use Instagram Reels as a new way to build a following, Instagram has revamped its Explore page to create a specific landing spot for Reels at the top of the screen that people can vertically scroll through — similar to TikTok’s “For You Page.”

Source: The Verge