The owner of an Italian restaurant in New Mexico, who put up a billboard saying, “Black Olives Matter,” is now expanding his marketing strategy to hats, t-shirts, and Facebook ads after making national headlines.
Camuglia said he used the phrase as a way to sell a new dish: tuna with black olive tapenade.
But when he posted pictures of the design and the dish on Facebook, he received a huge backlash from Internet commenters saying that the post was offensive and trivializes the “Black Lives Matter” movement.
“People were calling us racist. Saying we were a white supremacist restaurant,” Camuglia said in an interview with Fox News. “Some got really derogatory and just started cursing me out.”
Camuglia insisted that he only wanted to sell the dish and denied that he was trying to stir up racial tensions. He said he mainly wanted to get people’s attention.
Camuglia has also received an outpouring of support from customers and people around the world.
“It’s gone so viral. We’ve gotten calls from Australia, Spain, France, you name it,” Camuglia said to KOAT-TV.
Camuglia’s reason for putting the slogan on hats and shirts was because restaurant supporters wanted to buy souvenirs from the restaurant.
As a result, business has been booming.
“People have filled the restaurant and told us to leave up the sign,” Camuglia said to KOAT-TV. “That’s great, you know, because a lot of people make a living off working for this restaurant.”