Politics and restaurants prove a volatile mix

Photograph: Shuttertock

The risks of mixing business and politics were driven home for a pair of restaurants that drew the public's ire despite their professed neutrality on such divisive matters as whether Brett Kavanaugh should serve on the Supreme Court.

A popular restaurant in Washington, D.C., issued an apology after it tried to boost daytime business by appealing to locals who intended to watch Christine Blasey Ford testify Sept. 27 about Kavanaugh, President Trump's nominee for an open seat.

In addition to promising that TVs would be tuned to the historic hearings starting at 10 a.m., Shaw’s Tavern also dangled an offer of unlimited mimosas starting at 11. The offer was taken by many as insensitive, given how prominently alcohol and inebriation figured into Ford’s assertions that a drunken Kavanaugh sexually attacked her 36 years ago. 

“Not a good look,” as one tweeter put it.

Before the bar even opened, Shaw’s stopped hawking the drink offer and issued an apology via Twitter. It explained that it had intended to offer early arrivals the establishment’s lunch menu, and bottomless mimosas are a standard accompaniment. “It was an oversight,” the restaurant said. 

At no time did the establishment indicate that it sympathized more with Kavanaugh or Ford in the polarizing he said, she said controversy.

Neutrality also didn’t shield Monday Night Brewing in Atlanta from political blowback. The establishment had accepted a group booking from the National Federation of Independent Business. But the event turned out to be an announcement of the trade group’s endorsement of Brian Kemp, the controversial Republican candidate in Georgia’s gubernatorial race. 

A furor erupted when word spread of the booking, with objectors citing Kemp’s belief that businesses should be allowed to turn away customers because of their sexual orientation or gender identities. He has argued that a proprietor’s religious beliefs should bestow that right.

Monday Night was quick to respond that it disagreed with Kemp’s philosophy. “We believe in loving people for who they are,” it said in a website post titled “Our Core Beliefs,” “regardless of color, creed, gender, wealth, or sexual identity.”

In addition, “we do not endorse particular political candidates,” the statement read.






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