Published: Tue, May 01, 2018
Health Care | By Oscar Goodwin

Whole Foods Sparks Controversy By Partnering With 'Yellow Fever' Restaurant

Whole Foods Sparks Controversy By Partnering With 'Yellow Fever' Restaurant

Then it hit them.

"We were anxious about a strike at first". Once the new location was announced, many took to social media with their critiques.

But she added: "As an Asian-American woman, I look at the term, and it's either a bad disease you get in tropical countries or it's an offensive concept of white men pursuing Asian women based purely on their race".

Kim who is Korean-American has previously said that she was aware that the name choice would be attention-getting and controversial.

Kim, however, disagrees with the interpretation of "yellow fever" exclusively being based on sexual fascination with Asian women.

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"I never took it to have a deeper meaning", Kim explains. Raw Story reached out to Whole Foods for comment but has not immediately heard back.

Currently, Whole Foods has eight stores in its 365 chain that was launched with a no-frills concept to win over millennials.

The restaurant specializes in bowls that combine rice, noodles or greens with meats, vegetables and toppings. Yes, the name definitely gets your attention.

"Once, I had a friend who was grabbing our food for lunch and her white friend wasn't sure if he was allowed to eat here", she told Asian culture site Next Shark previous year, adding that she wanted to "re-appropriate" the term to define it her way. Social media users balked at the name, calling it racist.

ICYMI, yellow fever is commonly used in urban slang to refer to the fetishization of Asian women and contains many problematic sexual connotations which Whole Foods would have known if they had bothered to google it.

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Commenting on this on Twitter, Columbia University professor and author Marie Myung-Ok Lee, wrote, "YELLOW FEVER in the middle of whitest Whole Foods - is this taking back of a racist image or colonized mind?"

For some on social media, the issue isn't just with the potential racist or sexist overtones, noted People. Jessica Prois, executive editor at HuffPost's Asian Voices, wrote: "Yellow Fever has everything to do with Western culture cherry picking what they like about Asian culture, and that is basically affirmed, not subverted, with this whole concept".

Whole Foods is owned by Amazon. Yes, even if the chef/owner behind this is Asian, ' Twitter user @AltonWang wrote in response to the original @365byWholeFoods tweet. "That's both unappetizing and racist".

Kim also said that the name reflects the love for Asian food, people as well as the culture rather than spiking any negative feelings.

Kim has shrugged off concerns about the name in the past, suggesting her quiet, local success may have helped avoid a spotlight on the name. She says that it can also be "an attraction or affinity of Asian people or Asian things".

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"It's still prevalent in South American & Africa", she continued, "and has killed tens of thousands since 2010". That makes a controversy all the more frustrating, she said. "We just made a decision to go for it". "Now all of a sudden people are bashing on us", she said. However, after #Whole Foods received backlash for being home to the establishment's third location, it's apparent the name is "memorable" for the wrong reasons. "So so SO delicious", one Yelp reviewer glowed.

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