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Monday, August 17, 2015

Tech Entrepreneur's Duboce Triangle House Vandalized with Racist Graffiti

Posted By on Mon, Aug 17, 2015 at 12:07 PM

The Duboce Triangle house of Justin Kan, a partner at startup incubator Y Combinator and co-founder of, was vandalized overnight Friday with the racist message, "Fuck you gook!" Kan is Chinese American. "Gook" is an anti-Asian racist slur that was especially popular amongst American soldiers during the Vietnam and Korean Wars. 

According to SFPD Officer Albie Esparza, the act of vandalism is being investigated as a hate crime by the special investigations division. If the vandal is apprehended and prosecuted, a hate crime enhancement could be added to the vandalism charge. 

In 2007, Kan launched, a live video stream of his life, so it should come as no surprise that he has video of the incident. The Nest security footage appears to show a white male in a baseball cap and Dropbox hoodie scrawling the message on Kan's garage door.  

Dropbox declined to comment as to whether the man is actually a Dropbox employee. Officer Esparza said that the vandal appeared to be a 40-50 year old homeless man with salt-and-pepper hair, making any connection to the tech company unlikely.

In an email, Kan told SF Weekly, "I don't think that the vandal was a Dropbox employee. It is a little ironic as I'm a partner at Y Combinator, the first investor in Dropbox, and friends with the Dropbox founders. Someone from Dropbox reached out to offer support, but no one has recognized the vandal so far."

One of Kan's neighbors added a fresh layer of the wrong color paint to cover up the slur. The neighborly act, performed without Kan's consent, was deemed a "help crime." 

Kan is resolved not to let the incident change his behavior. He write, "I've lived in SF for 9 years (mostly within 1.5 miles from my current home) and I've never felt targeted for my race before. While it was shocking, I'm not planning on adding security or changing my behavior — to quote Bruce Schneier, "The surest defense against terrorism is to refuse to be terrorized."

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About The Author

Julia Carrie Wong

Julia Carrie Wong's work has appeared in numerous local and national titles including 48hills, Salon, In These Times, The Nation, and The New Yorker.

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