SAN ANTONIO – The owner of the Noodle Tree ramen shop that was attacked with racist graffiti over the weekend said threats have been “ramping up,” but that’s not stopping him from promoting COVID-19 safety and speaking out on hate crimes.
Shop owner Mike Nguyen, who spoke with CNN last week about his opposition to the mask mandate reversal in Texas, joined the network again on Tuesday.
He told “New Day” anchor John Berman that he had to leave San Antonio due to the increase in harassment he’s received since the graffiti was found Sunday morning.
Threats have been “ramping up” since Monday, making him think there could be a second “attack” on the Northwest Side restaurant, he said.
“And the thing is, the more I speak about it, the more it seems the threats are ramping up but that’s not going to stop me,” he said. “I’m going to bring awareness to this situation because, you know, we’re not going to let the hate and ignorance prevail. We’re going to bring awareness to this and we’re going to stop this.”
“We're not going to accept or allow ignorance, hate or racism.” Mike Nguyen says the community rallied around his Texas restaurant when it was vandalized after he required his customers to wear a mask.https://t.co/3fi2OsBpKz pic.twitter.com/8bWVMgCJ3N— New Day (@NewDay) March 16, 2021
He added that police are investigating the incident by reviewing surveillance footage and looking into possible leads.
SAPD Chief William McManus on Monday said he is offering full support on the attack that he called “bigoted” and “cowardly.”
“I try not to display my anger when I see things like this, but that is nothing but a bigoted, cowardly move to do something like that,” McManus said Monday. “It’s just not San Antonio by any means and I don’t know what someone who would write something like that — or any sort of racially charged thing anywhere— I don’t know why someone would do that, it doesn’t make any sense to me.”
Nguyen added that the “senseless” act hit close to home because it was a direct, personal attack.
Racist messages that were painted on the restaurant’s windows and a table outside read, “no mask,” “ramen noodle flu,” “hope u die” and other sayings.
The graffiti was left after his interview with CNN on March 10 when he said Gov. Greg Abbott “doesn’t have the Texas people’s interest in mind” by lifting the mask mandate.
With no face covering requirements, Nguyen said, people are in greater danger.
“This is a serious thing. Whether people believe or not it’s been blown out of proportion doesn’t matter,” he told CNN on Tuesday. “People are dying at the end of the day.”
He was diagnosed with Lymphoma and his grandmother died from COVID-19 last year.
“I don’t want other people in our community to have to go through that,” he said.
Nguyen also thanked community members who have shown their support.
On Monday, the Noodle Tree posted that former District 6 Councilman and current San Antonio mayoral candidate Greg Brockhouse helped support the business by buying $1,000 worth of lunch and dinner from the shop.
Supporters have also been leaving paper hearts near the entrance of the restaurant.