Pub’s ‘racist’ name sparks furore
NEW Asian-themed gastropub Hotel Longtime has sparked a social media storm and online petition to have its name changed, after some claimed it references the Stanley Kubrick film Full Metal Jacket in which a Vietnamese prostitute solicits US soldiers using the phrase, "Me love you long time".
Vietnamese-born Tin Chu, who owns Longtime with husband Alex Fahey, said she was "surprised and disappointed that people are attributing to us motives which were never intended and which we absolutely do not believe".
"It is worth remembering that I am a director of this licensee company and I am a proud Asian woman who has worked hard to build my business," she added.
"There is nothing in our name which is in any way intended to insult or offend women. If anyone has felt that, then we humbly apologise - but again, it was never our intention.
"Any such association is in the mind of our critics, it was not in our minds."
Mr Fahey, who said he'd thought of the name before taking over the former Hampshire Hotel site in Adelaide, said the theming had been "taken out of context".
"I've never even seen the film (Full Metal Jacket)," he said. "I'd like people to understand what we're trying to achieve. The name is not meaning to be a brothel - it's 'stay for a long time'."
The name of the revamped Grote St hotel, which opened to the public on Tuesday, has prompted heated commentary on the Facebook pages of The SourceSA and Hotel Longtime, in which readers described the name as "cultural exploitation", "fetishising Asian women" and "casual racism".
Facebook user Frank Merritt wrote, "Shocked at the name! How can you not see how offensive it is?" while Peter Parker wrote, "This is the probably almost the perfect definition of cultural appropriation. Hotel Longtime's branding is relying/banking on a 40 year old stereotype ... of Asians prostituting themselves to American soldiers."
In addition to the Longtime name, the duo, who also own and run city diner Vietnamese Laundry, have called the hotel's front bar the Ping Pong Club Room - which some claim references Southeast Asia's ping pong sex shows. It's a claim Mr Fahey strongly denies.
"It's meant to be like a clubroom - like a football clubroom - where you go and have a drink after playing ping pong," he said. "It's nothing to do with the Thailand ping pong shows."
One Facebook post called on the owners to "rethink those names before it's too late", another stated: "This is outrageous! You called your venue Longtime (a clear reference to the Asian prostitute in Full Metal Jacket) and you have Ping Pong bar with a madame? Seriously!?"
The Change.org petition, titled 'Get Hotel Longtime to change its derogatory name & remove prostitution references', had attracted 83 signatures as of 6pm on Thursday.
On the page, creator Alice Whittington wrote: "Their opening party poster read, "The Madame is waiting", with the image of an older Asian woman - a reference to a brothel madame. How this ever was considered a good idea, or how it was approved in planning stages, is beyond me."
But Mr Fahey said his project was never about portraying a brothel. "There are plenty of restaurants that portray a madame," he said. "Pretty much most Asian-fusion restaurants have a madame. They all have that large scale artwork - Madame Hanoi, Mrs Q, Mamasan in Bali, it's a pretty standard thing.
"This is quite stressful for us. We've put a lot of hard work into this place and we just wanted to create something that Adelaide is going to appreciate and is different. Nobody who has come in has been offended by it. People are just trying to cut us down over something that we haven't done."
The pair don't plan on changing the name of the hotel.