Fast-food giant MOS Burger has come under fire after a Japanese employee wrote a hateful message about a former Chinese co-worker on a chalk-board sign outside one of the company’s Tokyo restaurants.

A photo dated Tuesday that went viral on Twitter shows the message, which states: “I told my unpunctual Chinese colleague that I will make ramen out of her back fat if she comes in late one more time. (After that), she stopped being late.”

The chalkboard was located outside a MOS Burger outlet in Tokyo’s Iidabashi-higashi district, the company confirmed.

The message was written Tuesday by a male Japanese employee who worked at the branch part-time, Minako Morino, a spokeswoman for MOS Food Services Inc., said on Thursday.

Irate complaints started pouring in to the company via phone and email on Tuesday afternoon, with some people slamming the note as verging on “hate speech,” Morino said.

The firm immediately instructed the outlet to remove the chalkboard and is still investigating the case, she said.

MOS has yet to decide what punitive action it will take against the employee, if any, she said.

The Chinese woman who was the subject message had quit the outlet two years ago, making the male employee’s motivation all the more difficult to understand, Morino added.

Such chalkboards are placed near the entrance of MOS Burger branches nationwide and are intended to communicate casual messages on topics such as the weather to passers-by, Morino said.

In a statement released on Wednesday, the firm apologized for the uproar and acknowledged that the chalkboard message amounted to “slander” against a certain individual or country.

“We understand the comment was extremely inappropriate. Whatever the intent of the person who wrote this might have been, it’s something that never should have been out on a chalkboard, and we acknowledge that our supervision was insufficient,” Morino told The Japan Times.

The Twittersphere likewise has been awash with comments blasting the photo.

In one critical post, Twitter user @beni2fuki wrote that “MOS Burger sucks. This is plain disgusting.”

“Being late for work is a universal problem. So the person didn’t really have to mention her nationality, did he?” said Twitter user @TRiCKPuSH.

“He might have meant it as a joke, but the world doesn’t think so. Such an inability to predict how one’s comment may be perceived by others is at the crux of discrimination.”

In a time of both misinformation and too much information, quality journalism is more crucial than ever.
By subscribing, you can help us get the story right.