With the San Francisco company Boba Guys gaining a following on both coastlines, fans are justifiably protective of the beloved Boba tea spot. This became even more prevalent when The New York Times posted an article about the popular drink.
When first published, the piece was titled, “The Blobs in Your Tea? They’re Supposed to Be There.” It focused on the drink’s creation, highlighting the new Boba Guys location that opened up in New York City. From there, similar phrases continued throughout the article, describing the drink as “exotic” and something that is “embraced throughout the Far East.”
It did not take long for criticism to arise.
One Twitter user highlighted and posted screenshots of the offensive phrases, racking up over 400 likes. Anna Hezel, Senior Editor of the online magazine Taste, also pointed out the newspaper's culture-specific wording in her own satirical posts. Hezel targeted the normalcy of crushed avocados on toast, cheese stuffed pizza crust and the “blobs in Spaghetti” within American society.
The newspaper took notice of their readers' comments. One follower, Bo Hee Kim, shared his take and The New York Times published Kim’s comment in their apology statement: “It highlights otherness rather than uniqueness, defines familiarity through a nondiverse lens, and for me evokes the unpleasant feelings of being the kid in a nondiverse neighborhood bringing ‘weird’ lunches to school.”
The New York Times' Business Editor Ellen Pollock shared the organization’s remorse over the language and perspective the article used. The original piece has since been edited, removing the offensive phrases and titles.
Boba Guys’ co-founder Andrew Chau spoke to Eater San Francisco regarding the issue, noting that, “When people say the wrong s---, you gotta call them on it. But if they own up to it, you gotta make peace with their apology, too.”