Obama Hug: Florida Pizza Shop Owner Facing Boycotts

Obama Hug: Florida Pizza Shop Owner Facing Boycotts

Scott Van Duzer, the owner of a Florida pizza shop who made a name for himself when he spontaneously bear-hugged President Barack Obama on Sunday, said Floridians are now boycotting his restaurant. 

“People are saying a lot of bad things and boycotting my restaurant,” Van Duzer said. “There’s no middle line anymore, and that’s exactly what’s wrong with our country right now.”

Van Duzer, who owns the Big Apple Pizza and Pasta Restaurant in Fort Pierce, Florida, said Democrats and Republicans are welcome in his pizza store. Van Duzer was so happy Obama visited his establishment that he embraced the president, and the photo of Van Duzer and Obama went viral.

Since then, Van Duzer’s store has even received negative reviews on Yelp, the restaurant review site, with a flood of one-star ratings and comments ranging from sarcastic to angry. 

Reviewers have made tongue-in-cheek comments such as, “the problem is that if you order one, you have to share the pizza with everyone else in the restaurant.” Others wrote things like, “I will never go to this place again.  After seeing this so called Republican hug Obama, I’ve lost my appetite.” And a host of commenters wrote comments wondering if Van Duzer “built” his establishment, which is a reference to Obama’s infamous “you didn’t build that” comments he made on the stump in Virginia. 

Obama seems to have a reverse-Midas touch on those he hugs in Florida. After Obama embraced then-Republican Florida Governor Charlie Crist in 2009, Crist lost his Republican senate primary to Marco Rubio. Crist has since left the Republican party. 

On the flip side, when Chris McMurray, the owner of the “Crumb and Get It” bakery in Virginia turned down a visit from Vice President Joe Biden last month, he had to temporarily shut his store because he ran out of cookie dough after orders poured in from around the country. McMurray said he and his wife had to work 24-hour shifts to fill all of the orders they received after rejecting Biden.  


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