NewsLafayette Parish


Lafayette business owner removes sign amid outrage

Coin and Treasure sign (1).jpg
Posted at 11:53 AM, Mar 31, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-31 18:41:56-04

A sign on the front door of a business in Lafayette has received criticism and viral attention on social media for its alleged targeting of Asian Americans.

That sign has been up for more than a year and has recently been removed, but social media posts about the sign put up by Coin and Treasure on West Congress Street in Lafayette have attracted outrage online.

The sign on the business read "Coin and Treasure proudly refuses admittance to any Chinese Communist MoFo."

KATC spoke with Kim Belew, the Facebook user to first post a photo of the sign.

"I was shocked that racism was so blatant and in your face. It's wrong. Racism is wrong. You have to shine a light on it if it's ever going to go away," Belew said on the phone.

KATC also spoke with the owner of the shop, who says it was not meant as an attack on Asian Americans.

Louis Pizzolatto says that the sign on his business has been up since last year, around February or March, and is not related to the COVID-19 pandemic or recent attacks on Asian Americans.

"The sign was initially, in my mind, a protest against COVID," Pizzolatto added.

More specifically, Pizzolatto says that the sign was directly targeting the Chinese Communist Party.

"Asians never played a part in my mind. Chinese never played a part in my mind. What played a part in my mind was the Chinese Communist Party that killed 50 million in one lick, some estimate up to 100," he said. "When I started doing research on what the Chinese Communists have done over the years, it went downhill. That's probably why I kept it up so long. It has no malice to Asians, no malice to Chinese. At all."

But some, like Belew, are not convinced. She says, "It's really hard to see it that way."

Pizzolatto has made a new version of the sign - removing the word "MoFo" and adding the word "party."

"It's a singular thing. Chinese Communist Party that has murdered hundreds of thousands of people. Not war. Just out murdering. That is the story," he said.

Concerns over continued and increasing attacks on Asian Americans had many calling for a boycott of the business. Online, reviews of Coin and Treasure shared that outrage over the post.

Some reviewers have reportedly complained to Stop AAPI Hate about the business. Stop AAPI Hate, an advocacy group, responds to incidents of hate, violence, harassment, discrimination, shunning, and child bullying against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in the United States.

Stop AAPI Hate reported nearly 4,000 instances of hate instances against Asian Americans in the U.S. between March 2020 and February 2021 — more than 10 a day.

The rise in hate instances mirrors the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, as Asian Americans unjustly face blame for the spread of the coronavirus.

KATC reached out to the Asian Chamber of Commerce of Acadiana, which released the following statement:

While we cannot speak for every Asian person in the Acadiana area, we can say that we are deeply disappointed and saddened by anti-Asian sentiment since the beginning of the Covid pandemic, including the sign posted by Coin & Treasure. It’s not usually a violent example, though those have been reported on nationwide, but rather one snide comment here or one sign there. These comments and signs are almost always explained away as “joking”, “not my intent” or “taken out of context.” The basic intent, though, of any such comment IS to single out one particular race and to point out some negative attribute.

We call Acadiana home as do people of many other races. Many of them are our friends, family and co-workers and thankfully we can say that anti-Asian sentiment or violence is not the norm but rather isolated. Typically, such comments can be, and should be, attributed to the close-mindedness of that particular person or organization and not another group of people as a whole. Nevertheless, it does not reduce the sting of being on the receiving end of such a comment or sign nor does it allow anybody to dictate how offended one should be. We can do better Acadiana. We can all do better.

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