I saw a few posts on that thread were removed, and will assume it was for reasons of tasted/decency.
I don't see it being racist. Very, very $#itty and uncalled for, but not racist. Barato John always managed to inflame and anger without picking on someone else's mama' or heritage, I see no reason why we'd need to with him.
I also would like to think John is more the type of person that confronts and deals with such insults, not runs away from them.