HUNTINGTON BEACH (CBSLA) — Cellphone video of a woman telling a Long Beach couple, “You need to go back to your home country,” has gone viral, and the woman’s employer has issued a statement condemning the comments.
“I want you to tell everybody why you told us to go back to our country,” Tony Kao can be heard saying before Tarin Olson affirms his remark as she walks away.
The video was shot last week as the couple was on a walk with their infant on a residential street in Long Beach.
Kao can also be heard saying he and his wife were born and raised in the United States.
CBS2 News spoke to Olson, a counselor at Golden West College, at her home Sunday, though she refused to give an on-camera interview.
She did tell CBS2 that her students know she is not a racist.
A statement from Olson read, “I feel my perspective will be twisted if discussing the skewed video which cut out part of the incident.[…] If you would like to have a full normal interview about the displacement of European-Americans then I gladly am available to enlighten the public.”
Golden West College, located in Huntington Beach, issued the following statement on its Facebook page:
“It has recently come to our attention that there was a video posted on Facebook of a GWC faculty member making comments that the College does not condone or support. Golden West College believes in an inclusive and welcoming environment for all students.”
Kao followed up his initial post by thanking the community for its support in the face of the shocking comments.
“First, I wanted to express our sadness of experiencing racism first-hand with our baby who was exposed to this at such a young age in public and in broad daylight,” Kao wrote on his Facebook page.
The message continued, “Second, we wanted to express our surprise that this type of racism can exist in Long Beach of all places.”
The sentiment was echoed by Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia.
“I mean, this country is a country of immigrants and of diversity, and this city is a very diverse, beautiful place I think people love and feel very comfortable in,” Garcia told CBS2 News. “So, I never want any families to feel like they’re not welcome here; we’re welcoming of everybody,” said the mayor.
CBS2 spoke to several Long Beach residents who felt the same way.
“My reaction, especially in this city, is it’s appalling,” one woman said. “Long Beach is known for its diversification. We’re accepting of all cultures, and for anybody to say that to begin with is horrific.”
One man blamed a person “at the top.”
“It’s what’s happening out there,” Ray Sebastian. “I think it starts at the top, as far as who’s at the top. So I think it’s part of today’s landscape. I mean, it’s sad, but it’s true.”
Kao posted a another update Sunday, saying he had “NO intention of besmirching the offender’s personal life or career.” He asked the public not to foster more hatred, saying, “there’s enough of those feelings in this world.”
CBS2 spoke to Golden West College, who said they were aware of the video and that they were handling it internally, since it is a personnel matter.