Vandals painted racist slogans on Mike Nguyen's storefront after he called Texas' newly relaxed mask policy "cowardly" on CNN.
CAT SANDOVAL: San Antonio restaurant owner and chef Mike Nguyen found his restaurant vandalized Sunday with racist words like "Kung Flu," once promoted by former President Trump.
DONALD TRUMP: Kung Flu, yes.
MIKE NGUYEN: I knew that there could be a chance of, you know, the business getting vandalized or myself being attacked.
CAT SANDOVAL: This comes days after he appeared on CNN to criticize the Texas governor for lifting the mask mandate.
MIKE NGUYEN: The governor doesn't have us Texans' interests at play at this point. I think it's more of a personal interest, I think, because this isn't to drop the mask mandate. It is selfish and cowardly.
CAT SANDOVAL: Nguyen is immunocompromised, and he is currently undergoing treatment for lymphoma.
MIKE NGUYEN: I had hesitation initially to go on because of the backlash. But, you know, at the end of the day, I realized that, you know, it needed to be said.
CAT SANDOVAL: New numbers from reporting center, Stop AAPI Hate, received more than 3,700 anti-Asian hate incidents nationally since the start of the pandemic. Nguyen is an example. His CNN appearance has been followed by death threats, harassment, and low restaurant ratings.
WILLIAM MCMANUS: That's nothing but a bigoted, cowardly move to do something like that. It's just not-- it's not San Antonio by any means.
CAT SANDOVAL: The San Antonio Police Department tells Newsy they are currently in preliminary investigations.
The graffiti says, "Go back to China," but you're not even Chinese.
MIKE NGUYEN: No, I'm not. No, that's-- and that's the irony of it. It's stupid. You know what I mean? And it's like, I'm half-Vietnamese [INAUDIBLE]. And that was just the dumbest thing ever.
CAT SANDOVAL: After his restaurant was targeted, the community came together to clean and wipe away messages of hate.
MIKE NGUYEN: Those were strangers, complete people-- like complete strangers. And that for me was a very powerful message, you know? The negativity and the initial hate, like, it brought us together, and that's what us Texans do.
CAT SANDOVAL: Instead of slurs, hearts now appear in the Noodle Tree Restaurant, with one reading, "Love is stronger than hate." For Newsy, I'm Cat Sandoval.