Uncle Ho: Controversial Brisbane eatery to change its name

7314140-3x2-700x467by Amy Mitchell-Whittington April 11 2016 – 8:40AM

The director of a Brisbane restaurant has agreed to change the business name after facing sharp criticism from the Vietnamese community over the weekend.

Uncle Ho, named after the communist dictator Ho Chi Minh, closed it’s doors on Sunday after more than 100 members of Brisbane’s Vietnamese community protested outside the Fortitude Valley establishment.

Uncle Ho name change after backlash

A Brisbane restaurant managed to “insult the entire Vietnamese community” by honouring a brutal dictator but says “we are not communist sympathisers”. 7 News Queensland

The restaurant, located on East Street just off Ann Street, had been open for 17 days.

During the Sunday protest, restaurant director Anna Demirbek posted to the restaurant’s Instagram page that management and staff had received death threats and threats of damage to the business.

“Over the past 24 hours management have received death threats and threats of burning down the building our business is housed in,” a post on the account reads.

“This is unacceptable, bullying behaviour. Our business will be closed today (Sunday) to ensure the safety and security of our team and our customers.”

Member of the local Vietnamese community Jade Pham told Fairfax Media she was “outraged” by the lack of respect.

“The caucasian owners have named it after a dictator whose communist regime is what Australia fought against during the Vietnam War,” she said.

“I am outraged by the lack of respect for history and the people it affects in Australia to this day.”

Ms Demirbek released a statement to Channel 7 on Sunday which announced a name change for the controversial establishment.


Uncle Ho name changed

A Vietnamese restaurant in Brisbane named after communist dictator Ho Chi Minh will change its name after it was called “a disgusting insult”. 7 News Queensland

“We have registered the name Uncle Bia Hoi and have commenced proceedings to change our trading name in the coming weeks,” she stated.

About 100 people have protested outside Brisbane’s Uncle Ho restaurant, which was closed on Sunday due to “death threats” for naming the eatery after Vietnamese communist leader Ho Chi Minh.

The city’s Vietnamese community said the name and advertising was ignorant and insulting and they would continue to organise protests until the name was changed.

They held a peaceful protest outside the New Farm establishment on Sunday morning, singing national songs and holding placards such as “Ho Chi Minh is nobody’s uncle”.

The restaurant’s director Anna Demirbek was unapologetic in an Instagram post on Sunday.

She said they were fully conscious the brand would be sensitive.

“We have no position on the political or historical landscape of Vietnam,” she said.

“We are not communist sympathisers.

“Over the past 24 hours management have received death threats and threats of burning down the building our business is housed in.”

Phoung Nguyen said protesters’ attempts to contact the owners of the New Farm restaurant had failed.

She said because their peaceful approach did not work, they decided to rally.

“For Vietnamese, especially from the south, who risked their lives and ran away from their country by boat in the 70s and 80s, we hate that name,” she said.

“We settled in Australia and live in peace and enjoy the freedom, democracy and work hard in a country which opened its arms to us.

“We are incensed.

“The posters in there is some sort of promotion for the Vietnamese army and remind us of the invasion of Saigon.

“It was a terrifying period for all of us, we were the losers and the winner did not treat us humanly.

“Why do you promote an eatery with all the war, guns, tanks images?”

More than a hundred people protested near the restaurant.

Since its opening earlier this year, the restaurant’s Instagram feed has drawn criticism for making light of the history.

One post a month ago, featuring a red tank and military saying “gather your squadron and mobilise the troops” offended a number of people.

“This kind of imagery is insensitive at best and horribly offensive to so many Vietnamese Australians, many whose families fled torture and death at the hands of ‘Uncle Ho’, it’s also a slap in the face to many Vietnam vets,” patches_o wrote.

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