J. Kenji Lopez-Alt is the chef-partner of a San Francisco Bay Area restaurant: Wursthall Restaurant , 310 Baldwin Ave, San Mateo, CA 94401.
On Twitter, Lopez-Alt describes himself as:
Full-time Dad. Author: The Food Lab. Chef. Feminist. Atheist.
On Sunday, January 27, 2019, Lopez-Alt posted a since-deleted tweet saying his restaurant will refuse service to anyone wearing a MAGA cap because it’s a “symbol of intolerance and hate” like the Nazi swastika or the KKK’s white hood.
By Wednesday afternoon, January 30, 2019, the tweet had more than 2,100 likes and more than 200 retweets. (San Francisco Chronicle)
In a follow-up tweet, also since deleted, Lopez-Alt said the red MAGA caps “are like white hoods except stupider because you can see exactly who is wearing them.”
RT reports, February 1, 2019, that Lopez-Alt’s tweets drew both praise and condemnation, with some urging a boycott of Wursthall and others suggesting a visit to the restaurant by a MAGA hat-wearing flash mob. The restaurant’s page on both Facebook and the review site Yelp have been inundated with negative reviews accusing the owner of bigotry and politically-motivated hatred. (Yelp has since deleted all the negative reviews.)
On February 1, 2019, five days after his “no MAGA hat” tweet, Lopez-Alt posted a self-serving, fake apology on Medium and on Twitter, in which he double-downed on calling the MAGA hat a symbol of “anger, hate, and violence”:
I want to start by apologizing to my staff and partners at Wursthall. Making a public statement without taking my team’s thoughts into consideration was disrespectful and reckless. My goal at Wursthall was for it to be a restaurant where all employees and staff are treated with respect and trust, and by making that public statement without your consent, I failed at that goal. I will work hard to earn back that trust.
I am very proud to come from a diverse family. My mother is an immigrant from Japan and my father is from a steel town in Western Pennsylvania. My family spans across the political spectrum. Yet we still manage to have a wonderful time at our biannual family reunion because we have three things in common: family, a love for our country, and most importantly, respect for each other and our communities….
After having seen the red hat displayed so prominently in so many moments of anger, hate, and violence, to me — and many others — the hat began to symbolize exactly that: anger, hate, and violence. This was the context my tweet was meant to communicate….
My message was intended to reject anger, hate and violence, and indicate that these shouldn’t be welcomed in our society and aren’t welcome in our community. It was meant to be directed at those who would try to bring messages of hate, violence, and anger into my place of business, no matter what form it comes in. It was aimed at these three elements rather than at a physical object, but I understand that many interpreted my words in a different context, and construed a message of hate directed at them. This was not my intent in any way, and I am sorry for my recklessness.
What’s more, my personal perspective in no way meant that Wursthall was changing its policy, as is being erroneously reported in media.
Wursthall will continue, as it always has, to serve all customer regardless of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, sexual preference, gender orientation, disability, or political opinion — so long as they leave hate, anger, and violence outside of the doors of our restaurant.
As many readers of his pseudo-apology point out, it is J. Kenji Lopez-Alt who is the spewer of the very “anger, hate, and violence” he decries.
According to Wikipedia, Lopez-Alt has a degree in architecture from M.I.T., which makes him yet another example of the garbage and bigotry that U.S. colleges and universities produce.
A second Wursthall Restaurant is expected to open in 2019 in San Jose, California. Lopez-Alt is also an investor in Backhaus Bakery, which is due to open in San Mateo also this year.
If you live in the Bay Area, be sure to shun Wursthall Restaurant and Backhaus Bakery. All should shun Lopez-Alt’s book, The Food Lab, a follow-up to which will be published in 2020, as well as a children’s book on which he’s “working with Gianna Ruggiero”.
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