The Cheesecake Factory has told two employees “you’re fired” after they made disparaging comments about a patron’s MAGA hat, according to a statement from the restaurant chain. The company also says that an investigation into the Mother’s Day incident is ongoing.
“Make America Great Again” was one of President Trump’s 2016 election campaign catchphrases.
In the encounter first reported by the Daily Wire, Trump fan Eugenior Joseph, 22, went to the Cheesecake Factory with his girlfriend and her family last Sunday.
Joseph claims that more than two staffers there tried to intimidate the family and threaten him just because of the hat.
“On Mother’s Day, employees at a Cheesecake Factory in Miami, Florida, verbally attacked and made threatening gestures toward a black man who dined with his girlfriend’s family simply because he was wearing a ‘Make America Great Again’ hat, according to multiple witnesses interviewed by The Daily Wire…approximately a dozen or so employees approached the table and began making comments about the hat, with some saying they wanted to punch Joseph in the face. Witnesses also allege that some of the employees also referred to him as a ‘n**ger’ in their conversations among each other…”
EXCLUSIVE: Cheesecake Factory Employees Attack Black Man For Wearing MAGA Hat https://t.co/m6HvEICTD6— The Daily Wire (@realDailyWire) May 15, 2018
The Daily Wire also maintains that video and photos provide back-up to the witnesses’ allegations. Police were called to the scene, but this response did not result in any charges filed, the Miami Herald reported.
“I’m 100 percent sure it’s because I’m black and I’m wearing a Make America Great Again hat,” Joseph told the Herald about the way he was treated at the Cheesecake Factory.
In its apology that was released on Twitter, the Cheesecake Factory acknowledged that no customer should feel unwelcome in one of its restaurants and that it contacted Joseph directly about what happened.
The company also claimed that the situation may have been complicated because the outlet at the Dadeland Mall was holding an all-staff meeting during a shift change. The Cheesecake Factory operates about 200 restaurants across the country.
All guests should always feel welcome in our restaurants. The recent incident in one of our Miami restaurants fell short of our standards, and we apologize to the guest and his family. Two individuals are no longer employed by the company, and we are continuing to investigate. pic.twitter.com/gbrh1Ok8iC— Cheesecake Factory (@Cheesecake) May 16, 2018
In an interview on Fox & Friends this morning (see clip below), Joseph maintained that the incident at its core is about freedom of speech, and no one should be disrespected for their beliefs or opinions.
He added that it is extremely unlikely that he will ever sit down for a meal at the Cheesecake Factory in the future.
A hat or another form of expression bearing a political slogan is considered a form of speech.
The Cheesecake Factory incident is not the first time that a Trump supporter was verbally and/or physically assaulted merely for donning a MAGA hat.
Update: Eugenior Joseph is apparently taking some kind of legal action against the Cheesecake Factory his lawyer alludes to in this clip from the Fox Business Channel.