Ward 8 Councilmember and former D.C. Mayor Marion Barry says his words were taken out of context during his election-night victory speech, when he spoke against Asian businesses in D.C.
"I apologize to those who feel that I've disrespected them, because I don't do that kind of stuff," Barry said.
The Washington Post editorialized Friday that “his racist comments are too ugly to ignore.”
“We got to do something about these Asians coming in and opening up businesses and dirty shops,” Barry was quoted as saying. “They ought to go. I’m going to say that right now. But we need African-American businesspeople to be able to take their places, too.”
But he's not exactly backing down from the claim he made that some of these restaurants throughout the city are dirty and unsanitary, describing one Chinatown carryout as "not fit for dogs."
"Those who won't do it, they're not welcome in our community, whether they're black, white European, Asian or anything else," Barry said.
Shop owners that spoke with ABC7 defended their businesses, saying that they clean every day and that they are disappointed in Barry’s comments.
The president of the U.S. Pan Asian American Chamber of Commerce says she's worked with Barry in the past and was very surprised.
"If the people in Ward 8 did not need their services, they would not be in business there," said Susan Allen of the U.S. Pan Asian American Chamber.