A Canadian social media influencer faced backlash over a racist video in which he joked that an Asian market had a “pet shop” in the background.
The influencer eventually apologized for his ignorance – but viewers don’t believe it.
“In his apology video, people say ‘we’ forgive you. Brother, who are we?!” A TikTok user commented.
Joel Hansen, known as @modelvsfood on TikTok, Instagram and Facebook, doomed himself in May – Asian American-Pacific Islander Heritage Month – when he poked fun at the Asian store and its items in the TikTok video. The 3 minute video that was deleted was taken by TikToker Michael or @chachamyeonmikal.
In the clip, with a text banner that reads “This food should be illegal,” Hansen can be seen outside T&T Asian supermarket.
“If you’ve never been to an Asian grocery store, you’re about to be shocked!” he says.
The video then shows Hansen in the store smelling durian — a fruit popular in Southeast Asia — and making a disgusted face. Next he questions a plucked chicken and why it was sold with its feet still intact.
“They even have a pet shop back here where you can snag whatever animals you want!” exclaims Hansen while holding a crab with tongs at the seafood counter.
At this point, Michael interrupts the video repost to comment on Hansen’s racist comments.
“I had to stop right at this comment about there being a pet shop behind an Asian grocery store,” says Michael. “You have to know how bad that sounds and how bad that looks.”
Then Michael switches back to Hansen’s TikTok recordings, which include visible hashtags like “food challenge,” “eww,” “gross,” “gross eat,” “gross eat challenge,” and “California food.”
“I know he leads a distasteful life,” someone commented under Michael’s repost of the video.
“Bro shocked by fresh seafood LMAO,” another viewer posted.
In another video newly posted by Michael, Hansen is still at the grocery store, making jokes about the customers.
“We have customers in training,” says Hansen, as an Asian child comes by with a stroller.
“Omg,” a TikTok viewer commented on the video. “I used to watch him on YouTube all the time, but I literally stopped because every time he eats somewhere that doesn’t have American food…”
“The way he treats Asians in his video as props to poke and poke at,” said another user.
Following the relentless criticism, Hansen posted a 6-minute apology on TikTok on May 20 with the caption “Sorry” and a sinister emoticon. The video is titled “No Excuses. I’m sorry. I can’t change the past, but I can change the future. i will do better Many Thanks.”
“I’ll start by saying that I really regret what was released, how it was released, and I really take responsibility, and I really apologize,” says Hansen. “The video has been removed and I’m back here to verbalize it and make sure something like this doesn’t happen again. The video was absolutely clickbait, marketed, edited and created for shock values. With my privileges, I couldn’t really relate to what this video was like.”
Hansen indicates that he didn’t know how the video was edited and marketed, but that he still has responsibility for its production. Then Hansen tries to downplay his reactions to the supermarket.
“I never uttered the words ‘weird’ or ‘disgusting.’ I just wanted to show items that you can’t normally buy in a North American grocery store,” he says in the apology video. (For the record, T&T is the largest Asian grocery chain in Canada with nearly 30 locations.)
The Daily Beast could not reach T&T Supermarket for comment.
“I can’t understand the challenges faced by another culture,” Hansen continues. “I have always valued and respected other cultures. I have worked for the acceptance of others and truly am eternally grateful that they accept me. I am an ally and I deeply regret that, I shouldn’t have.”
Regardless of Hansen’s lengthy mea culpa, some TikTok viewers questioned the authenticity of his apology.
“Go to the store and apologize,” someone commented under the apology video.
“Where are the tears?” asked another.
“Thanks for doing what is necessary,” added one user.
In addition to TikTok videos, Hansen posts content on YouTube, where he is notorious for eating things deemed massive and challenging. According to his page, he claims to be “a food influencer and competitive eater who specializes in grand food adventures, food challenges, food competitions and restaurant promotions.” Hansen has over 450,000 subscribers and some of his most popular videos have racked up over a million views.
Hansen did not immediately respond to The Daily Beast’s request for comment.
https://www.thedailybeast.com/tiktoker-joel-hansen-apologizes-for-racist-video-comparing-asian-grocer-to-a-pet-store?source=articles&via=rss TikToker Joel Hansen apologizes for racist video comparing Asian grocer to pet shop