After a Cheesecake Factory customer wearing a “Make America Great Again” hat said he was teased and intimidated over his love for President Donald Trump, right-wing Twitter users say they are boycotting the chain restaurant.
The story was first reported by Ben Shapiro’s conservative site the Daily Wire, which spoke to 22-year-old Eugenior Joseph, who was wearing his MAGA hat while dining at a Miami Cheesecake Factory with his girlfriend and her family. Joseph and several witnesses claim an employee walked up to him, pointed at his hat, and brought her fellow co-workers over to gawk at him. From there, the Daily Wire claims “a dozen or so employees” walked up to Joseph and made comments about him, joking that they wanted to punch his face.
Joseph told the Daily Wire that he was particularly scared of one employee who “fist bumped” another coworker and “started looking at me, balling his fists, smacking his fists, trying to scare me.”
“I got up and went to the restroom, my girlfriend followed me, and as we were walking back, a group of [the employees] came out from the back and they just started clapping and yelling, and just screaming things at me,” Joseph told the Daily Wire.
In response, conservative Twitter users came out in droves against the Cheesecake Factory, with Ann Coulter insisting that Joseph should receive “cheesecake for life.”
Why is it that the media cares when workers harass a black man at Starbuck's, but not when workers harass a black man wearing a #MAGA hat at the Cheesecake Factory?— Ryan Fournier (@RyanAFournier) May 16, 2018
Think Cheescake Factory will close all their stores for a day of race sensitivity training for EVERY EMPLOYEE at a cost of $16 million like Starbucks? Using the left’s warped logic, the fact that he’s a @realDonaldTrump supporter negates his blackness. https://t.co/FUz1IlnKml— David A. Clarke, Jr. (@SheriffClarke) May 15, 2018
If you're going to the Miami Dadeland #CheesecakeFactory, make sure you wear your #MAGA hat, order the cheapest thing on the menu, and tip your server $0.02 to put your 2 cents in about how they treat their customers.— Crotchety OldMan (@OldmanCrotchety) May 15, 2018
The hashtag #BoycottCheesecakeFactory soon popped up, with Trump supporters vowing to never enjoy a multi-tier wedge of the factory’s cheesy cakes again after Joseph’s alleged treatment. Conservatives similarly boycotted Starbucks last year, to not much avail.
The @Cheesecake decided to threaten & intimidate a BLACK man wearing a #MAGA hat. Yet #BlackLivesMatter has nothing to say & no protests.#BoycottCheeseCakeFactory— 🚨THE Swamp Fox 🇺🇸 (@Francis_Marion) May 16, 2018
“When socialists fall from power they always resort to acts of intimidation & physical violence.#FMNRightAgain
This needs to go viral. It is sad that he had to be treated with such hatred. I am all in for boycotting businesses that allow their employees to act like that. #boycottcheesecakefactory— LoveAndPeace (@SandraJ0436) May 15, 2018
On the other hand, the conservative backlash may be losing some steam. Some claim right-wing Twitter users just aren’t coming out in protest enough for Joseph because he’s a Black man.
Where are all the #BoycottCheesecakeFactory tweets? This is way worse than the Starbucks fiasco— Justin Dell (@Justin_Dell) May 15, 2018
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The Cheesecake Factory has since turned to Twitter with a public statement, saying the “recent incident in one of our Miami restaurants fell short of our standards,” apologizing to Joseph and his family. The company has fired two employees, however, it also claims “not all of the information reported by the media accurately portrays what occurred.”
“The situation may have been exacerbated by an all-staff meeting that took place during our shift change between our staff members working the lunch and dinner shifts—which may have been perceived as a crowd gathering near the guests’ tables,” the Cheesecake Factory wrote on Twitter. “We look forward to speaking with Mr. Joseph to welcome him back into one of our restaurants.”