- Ananya Birla and Aryaman Birla, children of Indian billionaire industrialist Kumar Mangalam Birla, take to Twitter alleging rude and racist behavior by the restaurant staff.
You may be the scions of one of the world’s richest families, but you are not immune to racism. The children of Indian billionaire industrialist Kumar Mangalam Birla – pop singer-songwriter Ananya and cricketer Aryaman —along with their mother Neerja Birla, were reportedly the victims of a racist incident at a restaurant in Los Angeles. The three of them claimed they were thrown out of the Celebrity Chef restaurant, Scopa Italian Roots, where they had gone for a meal over the weekend.
Ananya took to Twitter on Saturday, October 24, 2020, to narrate the incident, calling out the restaurant headed by Chef Antonia Lofaso for their racist behavior towards the family. She said that the family had waited three hours to eat at the restaurant, but a waiter, Joshua Silverman, “was extremely rude to my mother, bordering racist.”
In another tweet, the 26-year-old, wrote, “This restaurant @ScopaRestaurant literally threw my family and I out of their premises. So racist. So sad. You really need to treat your customers right. Very racist. This is not okay.”
Her brother also tweeted, saying, “I have never experienced anything of this sort. Racism exists and is real. Unbelievable. @ScopaRestaurant.” Neerja Birla, who runs the mental health foundation Mpower, also commented on the incident calling it “very shocking…absolutely ridiculous.”
Ananya Birla is the daughter of Aditya Birla Group Chairman Kumar Mangalam Birla, who also made it to Forbes List of India’s 10 richest billionaires in the year 2020.
The internet community has slammed the restaurant. Some of them are puzzled as to how the U.S. restaurant could do something like this to such an illustrious family, others are outraged by the alleged discriminatory behavior of the staff and are sharing their own experiences with racism around the world.
Said one Twitter user, Uttam Tripathi, “I was very surprised that this can happen with the family of Shri Kumar Mangalam Birla ji, then what will happen to the common man! This is a very sad incident!”
Said Dino Parmar, “That’s really shocking & unbelievable behavior with India’s most reputed & powerful family!! The owner should be punished for such an unpardonable behavior. Take some harsh action & set an example. He should remember his entire life that he messed up with the wrong family.”
Several others responding to Ananya’s tweet suggested that she buy the restaurant.
But not everyone was criticizing the incident. Aleks Koruthu said on his Twitter account, “That’s too childish, was she trying to influence Indian Americans for November elections. In America they don’t care who you are and where you come from, hear out the other side of the story, there ain’t smoke without a fire. It can happen to her even here in India…”
But Pablo Moix, a partner in the restaurant, denied the incident and said that the family had stayed on to finish their meal.
He told IANS that the situation arose when they were asked for their original IDs as required under state law to serve alcohol, which two people in the party had and the others only had copies of them.
“The situation escalated and then de-escalated and they stayed and finished their meal, complimented both the waiter they had and the quality of the food,” Moix told IANS.
“I understand that everyone is on edge these days,” he said, adding: “It was an unfortunate situation.”
Moix affirmed that he would love the family to return to the restaurant again.
According to Lofaso’s website, she opened Scopa in 2013.
Lofaso has starred in “Top Chef: All Stars” and the ABC network’s sitcom, “Real O’Neals.” She has also been a judge on CNBC’s “Restaurant Startup” and is on the Food Network’s “Cutthroat Kitchen,” and “Man vs. Child.”
Ananya Birla’s first five songs hit the 150 million mark on streaming platforms, with singles “Meant To Be,” “Livin the Life,” “Hold On,” “Circles and Better” achieving platinum status. Ananya is the first Indian artist with an English language single to go platinum in India.
Ananya is the founder of Svatantra Microfin, a company that provides microfinance to women in rural India. She is also the founder of CuroCarte and cofounder of Mpower. Ananya has received awards for her work and entrepreneurship, including the ET Panache Trendsetters of 2016 award for Young Business Person and was listed as one of GQs Most Influential Indians of 2018.
Anu Ghosh immigrated to the U.S. from India in 1999. Back in India she was a journalist for the Times of India in Pune for 8 years and a graduate from the Symbiosis Institute of Journalism and Communication. In the U.S., she obtained her Masters and PhD. in Communications from The Ohio State University. Go Buckeyes! She has been involved in education for the last 15 years, as a professor at Oglethorpe University and then Georgia State University. She currently teaches Special Education at Oak Grove Elementary. She is also a mom to two precocious girls ages 11 and 6.