Arizona restaurant closes after pro-Trump Facebook post
“Never discuss religion or politics at the dinner table” as the old adage says. You may find the wisdom of the phrase quaintly outdated in an age where Facebook, Twitter and Reddit are always in your pocket, but one Arizona restaurant has discovered the consequences of ignoring the advice in this digital age.
Cup It Up American Grill in Tucson, Arizona decided that rather than just hearing what the daily specials are, customers really want to know the owners’ core political values. That turned out to be a mistake, as it was forced to shut down facing an extreme backlash in a sea of physical threats and one-star Yelp reviews.
This was the post in question.
Overlooking the fact that point eight (supporting the Bill of Rights including, presumably, the First Amendment) is in direct opposition to the second part of the list, there’s an important life lesson here. In short, there’s a reason that politicians tend to couch their speeches in language that nobody can disagree with: if you say you’re in favour of freedom, liberty and fairness – well, great, who isn’t? Start speaking in specifics, and you’re going to alienate someone, somewhere.
While Arizona as a whole voted for Donald Trump 48 to 45
While Arizona as a whole voted for Donald Trump 48 to 45, Pima County was a Hillary zone, where 53% voted for Clinton to 40% for Trump. That was 40% who backed Donald Trump 11 months ago too – the numbers enthusiastically doing so today are likely considerably lower, if you believe the opinion polls and the time-honoured laws of political gravity.
But even if those numbers were flipped, alienating 47% of your customers is a fairly crazy growth strategy, and the consequences for Cup It Up American Grill were suitably brutal. “People threatened to burn down the restaurant with the owners in it. It’s a crazy world we’re in,” Ron Sanchez, the father of one of the restaurant’s employees, told ABC15. The accompanying Yelp page is now a tedious battle between one-star vigilantes and Pro Trumpers keen to overload the site with five-star reviews, moaning about liberal cry-babies without the slightest hint of irony. In other words, even the subjective quality of a sandwich is a heavily politicised grudge match.
The Cup It Up American Grill has now closed “indefinitely”.
“We have made a decision to close our doors indefinitely as of today, Monday, October 9, 2017. The safety of our employees, and our families is of great concern and is our #1 priority at this time,” a statement in the window reads. “We would also like to extend a special thanks to our Military and First responders. Thank you all and God Bless.”
It turns out that Facebook is still a hugely powerful platform for getting your message out there – the flipside, however, is sometimes it’s best to plead the fifth. As self-proclaimed fans of the Bill of Rights, you’d hope the irony isn’t lost on the owners of Cup It Up.