The comment appeared on Tuesday. Readers of the Fox News Facebook page were talking about the Virginia restaurant owner who kicked out Trump press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, and a man named Paul wrote something Fox News readers really didn’t appreciate. Sanders, he implied, was “Not allowed in my restaurant ever!”
And what restaurant is that? Paul’s Facebook cover image suggested an answer: Seattle’s iconic 5 Point Cafe.
“Best advert yet to not visit your restaurant,” went the nicest of hundreds of responses to Paul’s comment. “We will spread the news sir.”
And spread it they did. Several 1-star reviews started appearing on the 5 Point’s Facebook and Yelp pages Tuesday. There’s just one problem. “Paul” isn’t the owner of the 5 Point. Seattle’s David Meinert is.
“Oh, the internet,” David posted on Facebook Wednesday, explaining what happened. And he cleared the record: Contrary to what this Paul guy implied, the 5 Point welcomes “pretty much” everyone. “We’re not kicking anyone out because of their political views,” David wrote.
As for David’s own views, he’s not shy about sharing them. “While I lean left, I’m a political pragmatist and have been boycotted by the left and the right for different stances I’ve taken,” he wrote on the Fox News thread. In 2013, he ticked off folks on the right when he declared his eateries (he owns several) to be gun free zones. In 2014, he ticked off folks on the left when he tried to convince local servers that a $15 minimum wage without a trip credit would threaten their tips. (He said he also supported going to $15 quicker than what passed.)
To a lot of people, the story about the restaurant that kicked out Sanders is about way more than Trump. It’s about how we coexist in a society so divided, it can feel like people with different political views are doing intolerable harm to society.
Can welcoming pretty much everyone still be a thing? We’ll see. In the meantime, we called David to hear more. >> Check out our story on theevergrey.com for full-length quotes. << Some highlights:
- “I want to be a place that’s tolerant of diversity and that includes a diversity of views. I also don’t think we should take each other’s political views so serious.”
- “I don’t know Sanders. She could be a lovely person for all I know. She seems like a fool.”
- “You can be right wing in Seattle and come eat at the 5 Point. You might sit next to transgender sex worker who’s a socialist, but everyone’s welcome!”
So what’s happened since the mix-up?
- Fox News Facebook page followers figured out their mistake, felt bad, and shamed others into doing their research before they “destroy someone’s rep and business.”
- Yelp took down several 1-star reviews while David’s friends posted a few new 5-star ones.
- Debate on the 5 Point’s Facebook page heated up, with some locals really not liking David’s take on all this.
- And OH YEAH: After we messaged him about his comment that started all this, “Paul,” whoever he is, deleted the comment and changed his cover photo. When we got in touch with Paul, he said he didn’t mean to imply he was the owner of 5 Point. “It was a spur-of-the-moment generalized hypothetical comment,” he wrote us. “I’m guilty of [having] a 5 Point cover photo… I just can’t stand Trump is all.”
If you owned a restaurant, would you kick someone out for their political views? Join the conversation — thoughtfulness highly encouraged! — on our Facebook page. See something else going on in the city that outlines this strange political time we’re in? Hit reply or email us at [email protected].