San Francisco Eatery Bans MAGA Hat-Wearing Customers

Supporters hold up their 'Make America Great Again' hats as US President Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally at Florida State Fairgrounds Expo Hall in Tampa, Florida, on July 31, 2018. (Photo by SAUL LOEB / AFP) (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images

The owner of a San Francisco-area eatery announced Sunday that he would refuse service to any customers who walk into his restaurant wearing a “Make America Great Again” (MAGA) hat.

J. Kenji Lopez-Alt, who is a chef-partner at Wursthall restaurant in San Mateo, said in a now-deleted tweet that he would not serve MAGA hat-wearing customers, comparing the red Trump campaign-issued caps to wearing swastikas and white hoods from the Ku Klux Klan.

“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,” according to a now-deleted tweet from Lopez-Alt obtained by the San Francisco Chronicle on Thursday.

Before the tweet was taken down, it had been retweeted 200 times and received more than 2,100 likes.

Lopez-Alt received online and offline backlash from people who say he was being intolerant of those who had differing political opinions.

Bao Agbayani, who had been visiting the area from the Philippines, said he was alarmed at what Lopez-Alt’s rule stood for.

“You’re discriminating against those with different political views,” said Agbayani. “That’s just not OK.”

Jamie Hwang, a resident of San Mateo, said she had “mixed feelings” about Lopez-Alt’s ban.

“I see where he’s coming from, but I don’t think you should just keep people out because of a hat,” said Hwang.

Lopez-Alt, who wrote a book in 2015 called The Food Lab: Better Home Cooking Through Science, said his restaurant received threatening emails after he posted the tweet but did not make any further comments about the tweet.

Lopez-Alt’s comments linking MAGA hat wearers to Klan members echoed actress Alyssa Milano’s January 20 comments calling the MAGA hat “the new white hood.”

The left-wing actress made the comments putting Trump supporters on the same level as racist Klan members after watching a viral unedited video showing a confrontation between a Native American activist and several Covington Catholic High School students.

The activist, Nathan Phillips, accused the students of threatening him. But additional video footage contradicted Phillips’ statement, appearing to show the Native American activist going up to the students wearing MAGA hats before aggressively beating a drum in their faces.


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