A French expat has been praised and vilified after he made a viral video slamming a Bangkok restaurant rejecting non-Thai customers this week.
A resident since 2003, Yan Marchal said today that had he not already known the Fullmoon Terrace and Bar in the Lat Phrao area was refusing to serve foreigners, he might have been less polite after it turned him away.
“If this came out of the blue in a place where I was not expecting it? I would perhaps have been angered and I wouldn’t have managed to stay polite,” Marchal said today. “I wouldn’t have picked a fight, but rather shown my disappointment by slamming the door on my way out, or something like that. Oh wait, it’s an outdoor place… maybe I would just have distinctively mumbled ‘arai wa.’”
Marchal said he went there Monday and filmed what happened after the venue announced that it was denying service to foreigners.
“It is said on social media that it only accepts Thai customers and reject foreign customers, pretended because of COVID-19,” Marchal says in the clip posted to social media, which as of today had garnered more than 1,000 shares and 800 comments. “So I’m going to go there, and I will see if I get serviced or I get kicked out.”
ร้านอาหารที่กรุงเทพไม่รับชาวต่างชาติ / Restaurant in Bangkok does not accept foreigners
In the clip, Marchal walks into the restaurant and seats himself. Minutes later, an employee approaches him and tells him in Thai, “We don’t accept foreigners.”
Marchal responds in Thai to ask why he was not welcome there. He also asked for the restaurant owner’s contact information, which he was denied. He left the restaurant without further argument.
Calls today to the Fullmoon Terrace and Bar had not gone returned as of publication time.
Marchal, who last year was forced to apologize to the former ruling junta for a satirical music video, said he didn’t intend to defame the restaurant or anyone.
“My purpose is neither to harm or defame them, nor to seek any benefit for myself. It is to raise awareness and open a debate about an issue of public interest,” he wrote.
The reactions to his video were split between those applauding him for calling the policy out and those defending the restaurant for “effective precautions.”
Asked if he thinks the true reason for the exclusionary policy behind is xenophobia or ignorance, Marchal said he had no idea.
“It could be that the owner is racist or xenophobic and uses COVID-19 as an excuse, or that they lack a proper understanding of the situation where a foreign person is not more likely than a Thai person to carry the virus,” Marchal said. “Or that they think that their Thai clients will feel better if there is no foreigner in the place … I don’t know.”