On November 14th, Long Beach R Bar owner, Rakesh Desai, was taped giving a homophobic anti-mask abuse to Beachwood Brewing employees in downtown Long Beach. Desai claims he was denied service after refusing to wear a mask – which is currently mandatory in restaurants by state and local orders.
As the tense moment at the Beachwood Brewing entrance escalated, an agent pulled out his phone to record the ordeal. While Desai was holding a face mask, he asked the staff to call the police. When an employee asks Desai for identification, he looks straight at the camera and says, “Rick Rakesh Desai. I own R Bar. “
The recorded talk lasted over two minutes as staff prevented Desai from entering the premises. Desai hurled insults and threatened employees using homophobic slurs while promoting his status in the Long Beach community. “You think you’re hot shit because you want to wear a mask? You wanker. Call the police. I am also a local business owner. “
Desai opened R Bar on Third and Pine Avenues in 2018. R Bar’s Instagram page was recently disabled while people posted negative comments on R Bar’s Facebook and Yelp pages.
Eater LA spoke to Desai, who says the incident started with a disagreement about wearing a mask. “No matter what happened, I shouldn’t have reacted like that,” says Desai. “I’ve said things that should never have come out of my mouth or someone else’s. I blew up. I apologize to everyone I hurt in this whole thing. “
Long Beach resident, Longbeachize inventor and writer Brian Addison posted the video this week on his personal Twitter account and his Long Beach Food Scene on Facebook. TikTok user Tizzyent then posted the video, which received more than 70,000 views in less than a day. Addison says Desai’s swear word is unusual considering Long Beach has long been a queer-friendly city.
“The problem with the video is twofold,” says Addison. “This is not something a casual punk said a decade ago, nor is it some drunk fool who is a bit out of line; This is an entrepreneur who can share in the economic strength of a community. Second, the fact that it was charged with anti-queer sentiments is doubly terrifying, as Long Beach is not only one of the most gay-friendly cities in the country, but Hamburger Mary’s – the city’s largest queer bar and dance floor – is just one block removed from Mr. Desai’s business and where his tirade was recorded. The sheer discrepancy in his behavior and the incongruence of his words with regard to our alignment as a community is just shameful. “
In a moment of irony on social media, Addison’s tweet containing the video was flagged as “hate speech,” which resulted in his being banned from the account. The video got over 50,000 views before Twitter moderators removed it while Addison’s account continues to be verified. Tizzyent’s TikTok video, which includes Addison’s original footage, is posted below.
Note: This video contains strong language and derogatory insults.