A Rhode Island restaurant is facing a massive backlash after posting an anti-Semitic meme on social media.
The post in question appeared Friday on the Facebook page of the Atlantic Sports Bar and Restaurant on Shove Street in Tiverton, RI, according to The Boston Globe. He reportedly showed a black and white photo of Anne Frank with the words “It’s hotter than an oven over there…And I should know!” A caption accompanied the image that read “#ohboy”.
Frank was the teenager who became world famous when her diary was published posthumously in 1947. It chronicled the two years Frank and his family spent in hiding from the Nazis as Hitler’s forces occupied the Netherlands. The Gestapo eventually arrested Frank’s family, and the girl died in Bergen-Belsen concentration camp when she was just 15.
The restaurant’s message quickly caught the eye. Jessica Machado, a WBSM talk show host in New Bedford, broke the story first. After seeing him, she said she called the restaurant for an explanation. Machado told the World that she first spoke with an employee who said she was unaware of the position. This employee reportedly hung up on Machado when she asked who posted the image.
Machado called back and spoke with the owner.
“He doubled over and said he just googled it, he thought it was funny, and they were very, very busy and it was very hot there, and they didn’t didn’t have time to respond to my concerns or questions. . He told me not to call them back and then, click, they hung up,” Machado said on his show, according to the globe.
Someone at the restaurant told ABC 6 that the employee who posted the image didn’t know the meme was a photo of Anne Frank.
The restaurant deleted the image and apologized on its Facebook page.
“The post was poorly thought out and we realize it was incredibly inappropriate and does not reflect our values as members of our community,” the apology reads. “There is no excuse for sharing this message, and there is nothing we can do about it, all we can do now is offer our deepest apologies to those who have been rightly hurt by our actions The Atlantic Restaurant prides itself on being a tolerant, inclusive and safe space for all.
On Wednesday night, the Atlantic’s entire Facebook page appeared to have been taken down. What still remains online, however, are numerous angry reviews on the restaurant’s Yelp page. Before reading these reviews, a “public attention alert” greets visitors to the page. The post said that due to increased public attention and an influx of new reviews on the page, Yelp had temporarily disabled the ability to create new reviews of the restaurant.
“While racism has no place on Yelp, and we unequivocally reject racism or discrimination in any form, all reviews on Yelp should reflect a genuine, first-hand consumer experience (even if that means disabling the ability for users to express views we might agree with),” the post read.
Yelp currently lists the restaurant as having one and a half stars out of five, with 278 reviews in total. Many of these reviews are negative, citing the social media post. Many of them came from users across the country.
“Feeding anti-Semitism is so much more detrimental to your business, but also speaks to the kind of person you are. I pray this shuts you down. Posting an offensive anti-Semitic meme is unforgivable and you will suffer the consequences,” read a post attributed to Cari S. of El Dorado Hills, California.
Yelp does not publish the last names of users who leave reviews.
“Horrible people. I wouldn’t give them $1 of my money. Joking about the Holocaust is absolutely disgusting,” read an article by Kenny H. of Milwaukee, Wis.
Stay up to date on all the latest news from Boston.com