Indiana Mexican Restaurant Criticized for Billboard Joking of Border Wall

Charles Ommanney/Reportage by Getty Images
South Bend, IN

A Mexican restaurant in Indiana took such criticism for a Trump-inspired billboard campaign talking about a wall with Mexico that it promised to take the signs down.

The billboard’s joke, “The best Mexican food this side of the wall,” fell flat with some so Hacienda Mexican Restaurants promised to tear down its billboards after complaints that the slogan they bear was insensitive.

According to a report on South Bend, Indiana’s WSBT, Jeff Leslie, Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer for the restaurant chain, apologized and confirmed that the chain intended to pull down the ads.

“We don’t intend to upset anybody,” Leslie told the TV station. “But, we do use humor. When you use humor, there’s going to be some groups that are particularly sensitive to certain things.”

But that answer was still insulting as far as an activist for the Hispanic group La Casa de Amistad is concerned.

“There’s a difference between funny and being offensive,” the group’s Executive Director, Sam Centellas, said. “I think they really need to think about how can you just be a little more fun without having to be degrading and demeaning.”

In fact, Centellas saw the billboards as a means to rile the restaurant chain’s employees saying he wanted to talk to workers to see how they feel about working for a company that “regularly puts out pretty offensive advertising related to the Latino culture.”

But the company spokesman dismissed this line of attack saying, “We try to stay topical when we can. So the board is really about passion for our food. It’s about our core guests who really know and believe that our food is really terrific, and that’s what we’re communicating with this board.”

Leslie, though, said he’d be happy to talk to the activist to hear their concerns.

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