Apology from Chow Fun Food Group

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    Mr. John Elkhay
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Date: March 17, 2008

Dear Mr. John Elkhay,
Maestro, Chow Fun Food Group, Inc.,

We, the National Asian Pacific American Women's Forum (NAPAWF) and the undersigned, would like to express our concerns with the marketing and publicity campaigns for "Chinese Laundry," a restaurant in Providence, RI, owned by the Chow Fun Food Group, Inc. This petition was placed online on March 17, 2008, and will be delivered to the Chow Fun Food Group, Inc. by March 20, 2008, for your consideration.

In the month of February 2008, the Chow Fun Food Group ran an advertisement for "Chinese Laundry" in Providence Monthly that featured a black and white image of a nude female torso with traditional Chinese characters tattooed down the side of her body, and a black banner containing the text "see what you are missing" across her breasts. A bar of text across the top of the advertisement read, "good things come to those who wait." In March 2008, the advertisement was again printed in Providence Monthly, this time with the words, "the wait is over." We the undersigned find the advertisement and subsequent marketing of "Chinese Laundry" objectionable for its dehumanization and commodification of the female form, and its exoticism of Asian cuisine and culture. While we recognize that "sex sells" is a common marketing tactic, this particular image evokes racist stereotypes of Asian women as hypersexual, submissive and "foreign."

We the undersigned also object to the name of the restaurant, "Chinese Laundry," which disregards the discriminatory practices of late 19th and early 20th century America that forced Asian American immigrants into these forms of domestic and servile work.

We the undersigned request a formal statement of apology addressed to the Asian American and female community for the marketing campaign, to be signed by Mr. John Elkhay and received by NAPAWF within 14 business days following March 20, 2008. This statement will also include a commitment not to develop or distribute publicity materials for "Chinese Laundry" that objectify women and/or the Asian/Asian American community in the future.