On November 14, Long Beach R Bar owner Rakesh Desai was recorded making a homophobic anti-mask rant toward Beachwood Brewing employees in Downtown Long Beach. Desai alleges that he was denied service after refusing to wear a mask — which is currently mandatory in restaurants by state and local order.
As the tense moment escalated at the Beachwood Brewing entrance, a staff member pulled out his phone to record the ordeal. While holding a face mask in hand, Desai requested that staff call the police. When an employee asks Desai to identify himself, he looks straight into the camera and says, “Rick Rakesh Desai. I own R Bar.”
The recorded rant went on for over two minutes as employees kept Desai from entering the premises. Desai hurled insults and threatened staff by using homophobic slurs while touting his status in the Long Beach community. “You guys think you’re hot shit because you want to wear a mask? You motherfuckers. Call the cops. I’m a local business owner too.”
Eater LA spoke to Desai, who says the incident began over a disagreement over wearing a mask. “No matter what happened, I should not have reacted that way,” says Desai. “I said things that never should have come out of my mouth or anybody else’s. I blew up. I apologize to whoever I’ve hurt in this whole thing.”
Long Beach resident, Longbeachize creator, and writer Brian Addison posted the video to his personal Twitter account and his Long Beach Food Scene on Facebook page this week. TikTok user Tizzyent then posted the video, which racked up more than 70,000 views in less than one day. Addison says Desai’s rant is an unusual one, considering Long Beach’s longstanding status as a queer-friendly city.
“The problem with the video is two-fold,” says Addison. “This isn’t something a random punk said a decade ago, nor is it some drunken fool that was caught a bit out of line; this is a business owner who gets to take part in reaping the economic strength of a community. Secondly, the fact that it was laden with anti-queer sentiment is doubly horrifying since Long Beach is not only one of the most gay-friendly cities in the country, but that Hamburger Mary’s — the largest queer bar and dance space in the city — is a mere block from both Mr. Desai’s business and where his tirade was recorded. The sheer disconnect of his behavior and the incongruence of his words in terms of how we align ourselves as a community is nothing short of disgraceful.”
Addison also noted the Beachwood employee who recorded Desai does not want to be identified.
In a moment of social media irony, Addison’s tweet, which included the video, was flagged for “hate speech,” which led to him being locked out of the account. The video racked up over 50,000 views before Twitter moderators removed it while Addison’s account remains under review. Tizzyent’s TikTok video, which contains Addison’s original footage, is posted below.
Note: This video contains strong language and derogatory slurs.