AP, August 30, 2006
Los Angeles—A Korean grocers’ group sued former U.N. ambassador Andrew Young for libel for claiming that they and other market owners “ripped off” blacks.
The suit, filed last week in Los Angeles County Superior Court, also names the Wal-Mart store chain and seeks at least $7.5 million in damages.
In an interview, Young said that Wal-Mart competition had forced smaller, “mom-and-pop” stores out of his neighborhood.
“But you see, those are the people who have been overcharging us, selling us stale bread and bad meat and wilted vegetables,” Young said. “And they sold out and moved to Florida. I think they’ve ripped off our communities enough. First it was Jews, then it was Koreans and now it’s Arabs; very few black people own these stores.”
He apologized later.
The libel suit was filed by the California Korean American Grocery Retailer Association.
“Most members are very upset,” said Gene Park, the association’s secretary and owner of a liquor store in Los Angeles. “There is no evidence that members sold those kinds of spoiled items. . . If people think we charge higher prices or sell bad food, they won’t come in anymore.”