California restaurant owner J. Kenji Lopez-Alt is apologizing for a tweet issued earlier this week in which he said that customers wearing Make America Great Again hats would not be served in his establishment.
In a statement posted to Medium, the owner of San Mateo restaurant Wursthall issued numerous apologies over a tweet that read as follows but has since been deleted:
“It hasn’t happened yet, but if you come to my restaurant wearing a MAGA cap, you aren’t getting served, same as if you come in wearing a swastika, white hood, or any other symbol of intolerance or hate.”
First, Lopez-Alt apologized to his Wursthall employees and partners, saying that “making a public statement without taking my team’s thoughts into consideration was disrespectful and reckless.”
“My goal at Wursthall was for it to be a restaurant where all employees and staff are treated with respect and trust, and by making that public statement without your consent, I failed at that goal,” he wrote.
WATCH: June 29, 2018 — Trump slogan hat leads to firing of Vancouver restaurant manager
Then, Lopez-Alt talked about how “symbols have power and meaning” and that they can “mean different things to different people at different times and in different contexts.”
He said the Make America Great Again hat has come to symbolize “anger, hate and violence.”
“This was the context my tweet was meant to communicate,” Lopez-Alt wrote.
“Unfortunately, the way I tried to communicate this ended up only amplifying the anger, and I apologize for that.”
Lopez-Alt said he meant to “reject anger, hate and violence” with his tweet and show that “these shouldn’t be welcomed in our society and aren’t welcome in our community.”
He had directed it at those who would “try to bring messages of hate, violence and anger into my place of business, no matter what form it comes in.”
Finally, he said Wursthall will keep serving all customers no matter their race, colour, sex, religion, national origin, gender orientation, disability or political opinion, “so long as they leave hate, anger and violence outside of the doors of our restaurant.”
WATCH: Aug. 23, 2017 — Hearing begins for Hamilton judge who wore Make America Great Again hat in court
The tweet touched off a disparate reaction when Lopez-Alt first issued it.
It was retweeted over 200 times by Wednesday afternoon and drew over 2,000 likes.
One Wursthall diner speaking to the San Francisco Chronicle, however, said: “I see where he’s coming from but I don’t think you should just keep people out because of a hat.”
Another diner speaking to that newspaper said that denying service to Trump backers is “what the right wants. They already feel like they’re being demonized by what they call the liberal elite. We shouldn’t add fire to that.”
This isn’t the first time that a restaurant has experienced a controversy related to Make America Great Again hats.
Last year, Vancouver restaurant the Teahouse fired a manager after he had told an American customer to remove such a hat if he wished to be served there.
The business was subsequently hit with a flood of negative Yelp reviews, with one saying: “too bad you gave in to Trump.”
—With files from Sean Previl and Jon Azpiri
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