A San Mateo restaurant owner has apologized over a controversial Tweet stating he would refuse service to any patron wearing a Make America Great Again (MAGA) hat, popularized by President Donald Trump.
In a statement on Medium.com, J. Kenji López-Alt of Wursthall Restaurant expressed regret to his staff and partners for not consulting them before making the public statement that drew mixed reaction from community members.
He added that 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.”
López-Alt said his did not intend for his Tweet to be viewed as intolerance for certain political viewpoints.
López-Alt’s controversial Tweet was posted Sunday and stated: “It hasn’t happened yet, but if you come to my restaurant wearing a MAGA cap, you aren’t getting served, same as if you come in wearing a swastika, white hood, or any other symbol of intolerance and hate.”
In another Tweet, López-Alt added, “MAGA hats are like white hoods except stupider because you can see exactly who is wearing them.”
López-Alt said some people misunderstood the context behind his Tweet.
“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,” he said. “This was the context my tweet was meant to communicate. Unfortunately the way I tried to communicate this ended up only amplifying the anger, and I apologize for that.”
While he said his 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,” he added, “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.”
Read his full statement here.