Paisano’s put the message “Black Olives Matter” on its sign with the words “try our tapenade.” The advertisement for its special led to a Facebook firestorm that eventually caused the restaurant to delete the image.
Restaurant owner Rick Camuglia told BuzzFeed News his chef came up with the idea and he approved it. He was shocked by the public’s reaction.
“We thought it was a cute play on words that would draw somebody to try our black olives,” he said. “It was literal. There was nothing positive or negative about [Black Lives Matter] that inspired us to put that on the sign.”
Some said the sign was in poor taste and an effort to use “tragedy and play the words to drum up business.”
Facebook users were also upset that the chef, who manages the Facebook page, deleted some of their comments. Camuglia said the intent was to delete “horrible, outrageous statements” but, on second thought, that wasn’t the best idea. Still, he says the reaction “shows an interesting state of affairs of where our country is that people — first of all — can be offended by a statement about a vegetable: ‘Black Olives Matter.’ And it does matter in our tapenade.”