Christina Thomas said she received a botched eyebrow wax at a nail salon in New York, so she refused to pay for it on Friday afternoon.
Huiyue Zheng, who works at New Red Apple Nails in Brooklyn, told The New York Daily News that Thomas and her grandmother also received a pedicure before the eyebrow job — and that they refused to pay for anything at all because of their complaints.
“They didn’t complain about the pedicure,” Zheng told the newspaper. “Then, one of the lady goes to do eyebrows. She says ‘I don’t like it. I don’t want to pay anything.”
Michael Lin, manager of the store, told ABC7 that he decided he wouldn’t charge the women the $5 for the eyebrow wax, but the pair of customers argued they already paid for the pedicure, even though workers at the nail salon disagreed.
So Lin says he called police, and that’s when a fight started to break out between the workers and customers, who were black. Protests have since brought awareness to the racial undertones of the incident.
“I said ‘sit down, let me call the police. If the police say you can go, you pay nothing,” Lin told NBC New York. “(If the) police say you pay for the pedicure, then you pay for the pedicure. No eyebrow, no problem.’”
A video posted to Facebook by Mercy Maduka purports to show Zheng beating Thomas and another person with a broomstick, according to Pix11. Maduka wrote that “workers f----- up a lady’s eyebrow and she refused to pay then a fight broke out.”
Zheng is charged with harassment, misdemeanor menacing and misdemeanor criminal possession of a weapon, police told Pix11, while Thomas is charged with harassment, misdemeanor assault and misdemeanor menacing. The latter is accused of dragging a person on the floor and punching them.
A second video obtained by The New York Daily News shows workers and customers pushing and hitting each other, with one person lifting up a chair in a seemingly menacing manner.
An investigation into the brawl is ongoing, and more charges could result, the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office told News12.
The ordeal has also sparked protests against the nail salon.
Protesters booed workers as they left the nail shop on Monday with the protection of police officers, according to The New York Daily News. They held up signs that said “Black $$$ Matter” and called for people to boycott the business.
Police say one protestor hit an officer’s back after throwing a bottle, according to Pix11.
“There is no respect for people in this neighborhood,” resident Gavin Gibbs told The New York Daily News. “Anytime a store doesn’t respect us, we’re going to shut it down. We will come, we will picket it and we’ll do whatever we have to close your store down.”
Gibbs was just one of about 100 who gathered outside, as reported by NBC New York. Another protestor called it “blatant disrespect.”
“It is disgusting that they can treat our people in this manner,” Chase Andy said.