A restaurant in Texas has received a barrage of poor online reviews after kicking out a diner who wore an anti-Trump t-shirt to breakfast. Brunchgoers at a branch of First Watch in Dallas were treated to more than generous helpings of bacon and eggs when Andy Ternay entered the restaurant on Sunday.
After a series of pointed exchanges, Ternay was eventually forced to leave The Richardson, causing tables to cheer, a server to quit and the internet to explode.
The shirt at the centre of the controversy was emblazoned with a series of expletive-laden slogans protesting the 45th President of the United States. On the front of the shirt could be read the words: "F**k Trump and F**k you for voting for him". The back was inscribed with, "F**k the racist alt-right". Clearly, Ternay is not a man who minces words when it comes to politics.
After leaving the restaurant, Ternay posted his account of the event on Facebook, which has since been deleted from the social media platform. His vivid description reveals that his act of political protest had a polarizing effect on the restaurant's guests.
As soon as he sat down, Ternay alleges that a manager came up to him to say that a group of white customers were distressed that children may see the language on his shirt. Ternay expressed his sympathy, before adding that, 'explaining "grab 'em by the p*ssy" and "golden showers" to (his) daughter was equally unpleasant". His table were then able to make their order.
While he waited for his food, Ternay revealed that he was complimented by a Latino guest and a few servers for his choice of attire. Moments later, however, a chef emerged from the kitchen and insisted that Ternay cut his breakfast short, as the restaurant owners had just been called. Politely, Ternay asked for his drinks to go, tipped his server and left the restaurant. At least one table of white guests is alleged to have applauded his departure.
However, it turned out that the drama had barely begun. After witnessing Ternay's treatment, an African-American server quit on the spot, saying as he left that he was finished working there, explaining, “You should hear these people asking not to be seated near Muslims.” Before long, a police car arrived, though Ternay was allowed to leave after citing his rights to the cops.
Ternay's account quickly gained exposure, and before long had been shared over 150,000 times on a number of social media platforms. Many people have responded by leaving a series of one-star reviews about First Watch across the internet, with many criticising the restaurant for "catering to racists" and limiting freedom of speech. While many have been removed, this fiasco has clearly had a huge impact on First Watch's public image.
For Ternay, the reaction to the shirt was clearly political. Concluding his post, he declared that:
"Everywhere I go with this shirt, white males sneer and people of color smile and give me thumbs up. I think it is very worthwhile to let people of color know they are not alone - that some whites also see the evil of racism is resurgent - and we will fight with our brothers and sisters of color against it."
Ternay is insistent that he has no ill-will towards the restaurant and does not want The Richardson to face a boycott. He's gone on record to say that all staff members were polite and professional during the contentious brunch. With the affair having captured the public imagination so vividly, it seems likely that this is not the last political restaurant controversy that we will see.