An Italian restaurant in New Mexico was eviscerated by social media for declaring “black olives matter” on a billboard.
Paisanos Restaurant owner Rick Camuglia told the Albuquerque NBC affiliate KOB that, “We were trying to promote our pan-seared Ahi tuna with a black olive tapenade relish. And so we put ‘black olives matter, try our tapenade.’”
The Black Lives Matter slogan is used amid nationwide debate over law enforcement tactics and fatal shootings by police officers. Social media exploded following the discovery of the advertisement, with some excoriating the restaurant as insensitive and bigoted.
One critic chimed in from New Zealand, saying, “I am in New Zealand and news of your insensitive sign reached us. I am a white woman and mother and it offended me.” Claudia Sanchez wrote, “As a woman of color I find your posting offensive and in very bad taste.”
“We didn’t think anybody would be offended by that,” Camuglia said to CBS affiliate KRQE. “It was not our intent to offend anybody.”
Many on social media did come to the restaurant’s defense.
The restaurant released a statement thanking New Mexico and surrounding states for their kind words and outpouring of support. The statement in part said, “Many nowadays would contend that society has changed for the worse, but our experience this week has proven the opposite. We have encountered so many quality people of character; salt of the earth and the bedrock of America. Awesome.”
The restaurant said so many people are showing solidarity by ordering olives on everything, the restaurant almost ran out and had to order more, but it has taken down the sign and removed the photo from social media.
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