Loathe him or love him, you probably have an opinion on Donald Trump. The Republican presidential nominee has a way of evoking strong emotions and reactions from anyone with ears, including it would appear, restaurant owners.
Eater reports that Mark Henegan, the owner of a restaurant in Fort Greene, Brooklyn, has recently banned the Donald from entering or ordering at his business. Posting a sign to the front window of his South African eatery Madiba, Henegan announced “This is a toupee free zone: Effective July 1, 2015 Donald Trump is banned from Madiba Restaurant.” Henegan, who escaped apartheid in South Africa, claims the views and language of Donald Trump’s political campaign are not what he hoped to ever find in America.
Madiba is hardly the only Trump-free restaurant in the nation, however. According to the Washingtonian, celebrity chef and Food Network star Michael Symon announced that Trump is officially barred from indulging at any of his Cleveland-based eateries while attending the Republican National Convention.
CBS Cleveland reported that Symon claims it’s not related to him being a Republican or Democrat, but rather it's because “he creeps me out.” Jeff Ruby, who owns a series of steakhouses in Louisville, Kentucky, and in Cincinnati, also issued a ban for the presumptive-nominee on Twitter. (Though he later lifted it after receiving death threats.)
Beyond the many Trump bans are the smattering of reports about certain restaurants going one step further and refusing to even serve Trump supporters. On July 5, Daily Mail reported the story of one such Trumpster, who claims she was removed from a Mexican restaurant in NYC for wearing one of the Don’s signature “Make America Great Again” hats. (The restaurant later refuted this claim, saying that the individual in question was removed for intoxication-related rowdiness.)
With all these bans floating around one of the most litigious businessmen/presidential nominees of all time, one question must be asked: Is forbidding him to enter legal? According to George Washington University law professor Michael Selmi: yes, probably. While anti-discrimination laws would prohibit restaurants from refusing service based on factors like sex, race, or ethnicity, banning someone because you don’t like them is kind of a gray area but, eh, probably okay and within the rights of a business owner.
It should be noted that on the other end of the spectrum, pro-Trump restaurateurs have gone out of their way to welcome and support his nomination. The San Diego Union-Tribune put together a local feature on Hancock Street Café owner Mario Waclawski, who recently added a large gold “TRUMP 2016” to the roof of his restaurant and added a variety of Trump-themed paraphernalia to the inside, including Trump bumper stickers (Trumper Stickers anyone?), Trump photos, and even something he calls a Trumposaurus.
Whether you love the brazenness of his candor or think a certain level of xenophobia/jingoism is a scary trait for the leader of the free world, it’s clear Trump’s potential presidency is reaching every single corner of our culture. And now it's even coming after our food.
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