adamson bbq

Toronto restaurant owner apologizes after being called out for offensive comments

Everyone has their own thoughts and opinions on the pandemic, but one popular Toronto barbecue joint took things too far in expressing them on social media.

Adamson Barbecue in Leaside is taking heat after its official Twitter and Instagram accounts engaged in debate on Sunday over facts and figures related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Owner Adam Skelly was behind the restaurant's social media that day and proceeded to argue with several people, repeatedly using an offensive term in the process.

Comments made by Skelly through the restaurant's Instagram also appeared on a blogTO post regarding the anti-lock down protest at Queen's Park on Saturday.

And in what appears to be a now-deleted post on the Food and Wine Industry Navigator Facebook group, Skelly was heavily criticized for referring to the Canada Emergency Response Benefit as a "handout".

The backlash has resulted in members of Toronto's food and drink community calling Adamson/Skelly out for its comments and practices.

While others have recommended other barbecue joints in Toronto that people can support instead.

In an email to blogTO, Skelly issued an apology for his comments.

"Using the word retard was a terrible choice. Regardless of verbage, I made some poor decisions with those comments," he said. "Instead of continuing with a logical review of the information, I name called and it was childish."

"I have close family members with mental and physical disabilities. I wasn't thinking of them, or anyone else besides the person in the thread, when I made the comments. I used a schoolyard insult and it was immature."

"I've been told by many people that addressing the actual COVID tweet is a deflection, and all that matters is my choice of words further down the comment thread. I'll leave that discussion for anyone willing to have it."

The restaurant has since deleted its Twitter account but its Instagram remains active.

Skelly also clarified that he does not own Conspiracy Pizza, and said that he's reached out to the owners regarding the situation.

Adamson was recently featured on blogTO for managing to retain all of its staff and pay rent in the wake of the pandemic. 

"I'm certainly paying the price with the backlash today. Messaged received, loud and clear," said Skelly.

Lead photo by

Hector Vasquez

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