Whole Foods just opened a 365 store with a restaurant named Yellow Fever in Long Beach, California, and people are wondering why no one put a stop to it.
Some think the name — which has been used to describe white men who have a sexual preference for Asian women — is racist.
Others are taking issue with the fact that Yellow Fever is an infectious disease that, according to World Health Organization estimates, kills thousands of people each year.
Whole Foods did not immediately respond to a request for comment from BuzzFeed News.
Kelly Kim, co-founder and executive chef of Yellow Fever, says the name is meant to celebrate Asian food and culture — not stereotype it.
The restaurant, which opened its first location in Torrance, California, in 2013 and a second location in Venice, California, in 2016, serves dishes from Korea, Japan, China, Vietnam, Thailand, and Hawaii.
“Yellow Fever celebrates all things Asian,” Kim said in a statement emailed to BuzzFeed News. “We have been a proud Asian, female-owned business since our founding over four and a half years ago in Torrance, California.”
Company branding materials provided to BuzzFeed News acknowledge the name’s associations but say the restaurant aims to instead “embrace the term and reinterpret it positively for ourselves.”
“The old definition will eventually become an obsolete anachronism, and that
should be our collective goal; that is when we will have succeeded,” the branding statement said.
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