Restaurant in Toronto is getting tons of backlash and it hasn't even opened yet
A Hamilton restaurant that is slated to open a Toronto outpost this week is under fire for what many are seeing as racist branding.
Press release for a new restaurant opening in Toronto. Speechless. pic.twitter.com/hz9Y1etkJ8— Suresh Doss (@Suresh) January 13, 2020
Uncle Ray's Food and Liquor, set to open near Church and Front Streets on January 17, issued a press release that has now gone viral on social media for its problematic phrasing and imagery.
The eatery, which aims to focus on classic Southern food like collard greens and chicken and waffles, uses a number of terms that many Toronto residents find concerning and outright offensive, including a depiction of a gorilla on the front of its menu.
Just maybe if you're going to open up a South soul food inspired restaurant in Toronto and have a statement about being edgy, just DON'T use a picture of a gorilla to sell it.— ScholarGent (@gent_scholar) January 14, 2020
Cuz I ain't ever going to be sold on going there.
The release's seemingly measured use of terms like "urban," "side hustle," "soul," and others provide additional layers of cringe to an already very tone-deaf, WTF situation.
I have so many feelings about this, Suresh. A bold tone for a hotly exploitative menu by a very white team not afraid of a little cultural appropriation sprinkled with a dash of casual racism.— Miss Sephora VonMills (@karmacakedotca) January 14, 2020
The Uncle Ray's team has not yet issued a formal statement or apology, but says that the lapse in judgement was completely accidental.
"We are certainly aware of the commentary taking place online," Adam Teolis, one of the restaurant's four proprieters — none of whom are people of colour — says in an email.
"This was clearly an oversight on our side and was most definitely not intentional in any way."
No need to be speechless. This is the dirty underbelly of Toronto Life that the Woke Gen have been critiquing hourly, daily. Just take a second to check in on the economic, political plight of the local black community, and these things will neither surprise or shock anyone https://t.co/eIgtM7UEPF— Dalton Higgins (@daltonhiggins5) January 14, 2020
Given that the establishment's additional visuals include other animals in the same design and colour scheme, this explanation seems sincere, though not above reproach.
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