A restaurant in Texas kicked out a man for offending patrons with his expletive-filled anti-Trump shirt on Sunday.
On February 11, Andy Ternay wore a shirt that read “FUCK TRUMP AND FUCK YOU FOR VOTING FOR HIM” on the front and “FUCK THE RACIST ALT-RIGHT” on the back while out dining with his partner. In a Facebook post, Ternay detailed his experience wearing the shirt at the First Watch café in Richardson, Texas, which concluded with the restaurant manager asking him to leave—and an police officer arriving to the scene.
“First, we were approached by a manager who let us know that customers were very distressed by my shirt and that children might see it,” he recalled in the post. “I expressed deep sympathies and let her know that explaining ‘grab ‘em by the pussy’ and golden showers to my daughter was equally unpleasant.”
As they were being seated, the manager again told him that a group nearby “was suffering due to my indescribable poor taste.” He replied that he did not see a problem. But a problem arose after Ternay’s drinks had been served and his order taken: a cook had come out and asked him to leave. A table had reportedly complained, but not to their server (who was of color), but to a white manager.
“We ask to tip our server for occupying her table, get drinks to go and leave. One table of white people applauds,” he continued. While in the parking lot, a black server approached him and explained he quit on the spot after seeing the restaurant ask Ternay to leave.
“He told us: ‘you should hear these people asking not to be seated near Muslims.’”
Ternay told The Daily Beast that the only direct comments he received were positive and from people of color. “[A] Latino lady at the register thanked me [and] two African American servers said my shirt was awesome.”
He said he wore the shirt because he wants his friends, neighbors, and family members to know where he stands.
“I don’t want people of color, Muslims, LGBTQ [people], immigrants to feel alone,” he said. “The proper use of white male privilege is to help lift others. To speak truth to power.”
He says he’s worn the shirt before and the only negative responses people gave were eyerolls. After the First Watch incident, Ternay claimed in his post, a police officer met him in the parking lot.
“I stop the car and ask the officer if she is there over a t-shirt,” he wrote. “She affirms this to be true and asks my name which I respectfully decline to give; she starts in on the shirt—whereupon I cite Cohen v. California, 1971, in which the Supreme Court upheld the right to wear a t-shirt saying: ‘FUCK THE DRAFT.’ She’s like: ‘Just leave, okay?’”
The Daily Beast called the restaurant and was told by the staff member who answered (and asked to remain anonymous) that he was one of the minority staffers working during the incident and that Ternay’s story “100% happened.” The staffer then said his manager was coming and he couldn’t talk, but didn’t hang up the phone.
Instead, in the background, you can hear a person saying, “No comment. They’re from a national publication, tell them no comment.”
The restaurant’s corporate offices also sent a statement to The Daily Beast hoping to “correct the misperceptions that are being perpetuated.”
“When we asked the gentleman to leave our restaurant yesterday, it was in response to complaints from customers and families with young children regarding the vulgar obscenities boldly emblazoned on his shirt,” the statement read. “Just as young children cannot go to R-rated movies that feature language like that, we do not believe they should be exposed to it in a family restaurant and we absolutely understand our customers’ uneasiness and decided to invoke our right to refuse service to that individual. In fact, our decision closely aligns with The Daily Beast’s choice to edit or filter obscenities in articles on occasion. Despite claims to the contrary made by others not informed of the event specifics, this incident has nothing to do with any political statement or the color of people’s skin.”
When asked if the restaurant would reach out to the employee who allegedly quit, they had the following response: “Regarding our employees, we do not discuss private employment matters publicly.”
They did not share a response regarding any policy it has for asking patrons to leave.
Ternay made clear he did not want to condemn the restaurant nor did he plan to boycott—“These things are never easy for businesses, and the workers were polite and professional,” he wrote—but says he’s gotten vitriolic messages sent to him on social media since his post went viral—42K shares and counting. The responses are ironic, considering the expletive-filled shirts and sentiment expressed by the pro-Trump camp. But it’s the black folks and other people of color that have reached out to him that worries him most.
“I have gotten heartbreaking messages from African Americans saying they have lost faith in their white neighbors—they are no longer confident their neighbors have their back,” he told The Daily Beast. “My shirt was a reassurance they are not alone.”