Tour Guide’s Tirade Prompts Call for Better Training and Oversight by Tour Industry

City officials and Chinatown community leaders rallied today in response to an expletive-filled speech by a tour guide denigrating the neighborhood and its residents and called for better training and oversight by the tour industry.

A YouTube video of the tirade by an employee of City Sightseeing San Francisco went viral today, with 389,560 views by 6:06 p.m.

The tour guide on a double-decker bus, who has not been identified but who was reportedly working her last day on the job, used the f- word numerous times as she referred to people, places and things commonly associated with San Francisco’s Chinatown. The guide denigrated the neighborhood as a whole, its congestion, its gates and its residents.

“F- Chinatown,” she said in the video, which showed her drinking from a bottle as she spoke.

The guide was “just spouting hatred,” said Darin Ow-Wing, director of education, Chinese Culture Foundation of San Francisco.

City officials including District 10 San Francisco Supervisor Malia Cohen and Board president and District 3 Supervisor David Chiu joined neighborhood leaders in a rally and news conference at 4 p.m. today denouncing the hateful speech.

Ow-Wing said that the incident is an opportunity for the San Francisco tour industry to up its game and make sure that tour guides seek to help visitors understand the communities they are in, rather than proclaim stereotypes.

He suggested the industry develop a program that would certify tour businesses that meet a standard, much like buildings are granted a LEED certification.

“It can really be a win for everyone,” Ow-Wing said.

Maria Wang, curatorial assistant for the Chinese Culture Center, said if a person wants to be a tour guide they really have to know the community. Wang expressed support for the rally because she doesn’t want tourists to leave believing the lies the tour guide gave visitors today.

“Love, not hate, Chinatown is great,” Wang said.

The sightseeing company has apologized for the incident.

“On behalf of City Sightseeing San Francisco, I deeply apologize to the residents of Chinatown and San Francisco for the conduct of a former employee,” CEO Christian Watts said in a statement. “Due to this unfortunate incident, we have added additional training processes to ensure that each tour is up to our rigorous standard.”

Keith Burbank, Bay City News

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  • bd3517

    While the person in the video was wrong/ignorant/hateful/mean, it this situation so endemic that we need to create a regulatory framework to address it? I worry the effort in setting this up would greatly outweigh the problem it would solve.