Affinity China CEO Christine Lu, who uses LAX for travel frequently, twice spotted the billboard near the airport and tweeted about it. The second tweet, earlier this month, attracted media attention, and the venue recently agreed to take it down. Her issue wasn't hard to fathom.
See also: "Happy Ending" Billboard Near LAX Offends Some Asian Americans
The billboard featured the back of a woman (the club says she's not of Asian descent) adorned with Chinese tattoos and the slogan, "Always a Happy Ending."
That conjures images of prostitution and massage parlors. Lu, who tweeted her objection at Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, told us last week that the billboard is "disgusting" and "very insulting" to her as an Asian-American woman.
Tao ultimate decided to take the billboard down. But in a letter to Lu, the club seemed to add insult to injury:
We regret that you take such offense and see it as a perpetuation of an unfortunate stereotype that is cultivated FAR MORE heinously by the hundreds (if not thousands) of Asian massage parlors in L.A. and Las Vegas ... not to mention the hundreds of billboards that scream out REAL happy endings. However, as a gesture of good faith we have decided to remove the billboard since it offends you so much. In the future, perhaps your focus would be better directed at the real source of the stereotype, actual happy ending massage parlors and their advertisements, not our harmless ad that elicits far more chuckles than letters such as yours.
Yeah. So, um, The stereotype is real, and you should really just worry about that.
The Tao publicity representative we reached out to never got back to the Weekly
In the letter
to Lu, the venue also claimed that it has served thousands of Asian customers and that this was the first complaint ever about a campaign it says had been around for eight years.
The club also says it has "nothing but the utmost respect for Asian culture."
Lu called it a "sorry not sorry" response and pointed to photos, sort of like this one, to show just how respectful the venue is.
You're schooling me on how and what I should be offended by when it comes to my culture? Wrong way to end your letter but thank you for agreeing to take down the sign.
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After an Asian-American Angeleno expressed disgust over a billboard for Tao Nightclub & Asian Bistro in Las Vegas, the venue offered the most insincere redress ever.