PORTLAND, Ore. — The owner of an Egyptian food cart in downtown Portland said he and his wife have been harassed in the wake of last week's arrest of the owner of a different Egyptian food cart.
Islam El Masry, the owner of Small Pharoah's food cart on Southwest 5th Avenue, was charged last week with misdemeanor harassment and assault after he was caught on video calling a black customer the n-word and throwing a bottle of Gatorade at her.
But Gharib Mohamed, the owner and operator of Elmasry Egyptian Halal Food, a food cart on Southwest 3rd Avenue and Washington Street, said he and his wife have been harassed in the week since the attack was publicized.
He told the Willamette Week that about 15-20 people confronted his wife on Saturday when she was running the cart. The group came carrying signs and calling for the cart to be shut down. And on Friday, he said, a man flipped him off and told him, "I remember what you did."
Mohamed's food cart is two blocks away from Small Pharoah's. He said he has no connection to Small Pharoah's, other than the the fact that his food cart shares a name with the suspect in the attack. Mohamed said the word means Egyptian.
"I have nothing to do with [Islam] El Masry," he said.
He said he was "shocked" when he saw what happened at Small Pharoah's.
"I didn't like the way that he treated the customer," he said. "You need to treat them with love and respect. ... I feel so bad about what happened."
Mohamed said even though he wasn't involved in what happened, he has offered the victim of the attack at Small Pharoah a month of free food. He said he loves his customers and wants to help her feel better about what happened.
"I'm trying to make her feel better about all the food carts and all the Egyptian people," he said. "We are good people here in the United States and in Portland."
Video taken on June 6 by the victim, Carlotta Washington, showed her and El Masry in the middle of a heated argument after Washington tried to pay for her lunch with quarters.
Washington said El Masry called her the n-word and threw the money back at her. After she stopped filming, Washington said El Masry sprayed her with Sriracha hot sauce.
El Masry was charged with misdemeanor harassment and assault. He pleaded not guilty to the charges in court on June 7. He said he has a lot going on in his private life and his emotions got the best of him. He also said he's not a racist.
"My father is black, I'm African too," he said.