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Tech CEO apologizes after racist rant against Asian family goes viral

The family was reportedly celebrating a birthday at a California restaurant when the tech executive launched into a tirade that was captured on video and posted online.

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Carrie Mihalcik Former Managing Editor / News
Carrie was a managing editor at CNET focused on breaking and trending news. She'd been reporting and editing for more than a decade, including at the National Journal and Current TV.
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Video of the incident went viral after being posted to social media.

Screenshot by CNET

A San Francisco tech CEO was caught on video this weekend unleashing a racist tirade against an Asian family at a restaurant in Carmel Valley, California. Footage of the incident, which happened July 4, was published to Instagram and Twitter and has gone viral, racking up more than 4 million views.

"Trump's going to fuck you," Michael Lofthouse, CEO of the cloud computing company Solid8, said in the video. He also told the family they "need to leave" and called one of them an "Asian piece of shit."

The video was captured by Jordan Chan, who said she was at the restaurant celebrating a family member's birthday. "We were celebrating my tita's birthday, literally just singing happy birthday to her and taking pictures, when this white supremacist starts yelling disgusting racist remarks at us," Chan wrote in an Instagram post. 

Lofthouse was identified in multiple media reports and released a statement Tuesday condemning his behavior.

"My behavior in the video is appalling," reads a statement issued  to San Francisco's KGO-TV and other media outlets. "This was clearly a moment where I lost control and made incredibly hurtful and divisive comments. I would like to deeply apologize to the Chan family. I can only imagine the stress and pain they feel. I was taught to respect people of all races and I will take the time to reflect on my actions and work to better understand the inequality that so many of those around me face every day."

Solid8 couldn't be reached for comment.

Lofthouse's outburst is a vivid illustration of a rise in reported violence and racist abuse against Asians amid the coronavirus pandemicUS President Donald Trump has repeatedly referred to the coronavirus as "the Chinese virus" or the "Kung Flu," prompting backlash on social media from medical and government officials.