La Carnita apologizes for Trump-inspired 'grab her by the taco' post
WARNING: GRAPHIC LANGUAGE
The Mexican street-food chain La Carnita issued an apology Tuesday after an Instagram post inspired by Donald Trump set off a firestorm of tweets calling for a boycott of the restaurant and a donation to sexual assault support services.
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The original post has since been removed.
But it capitalized on some of the controversy surrounding the U.S. Republican presidential candidate this week with the caption, "What if Donald said, 'Grab her by the taco'..." beneath some of the restaurant's menu items.
Reaction was swift.
"Right so: never eating at La Carnita again," Globe and Mail columnist Denise Balkissoon tweeted.
Others quickly added their name to the boycott.
"Cost yourself this taco-loving customer," Laura Reinholz tweeted. "Given media coverage, you can't plead ignorance, your 'mistake' was epically distasteful."
"Adios @la_carnita," Sarah Jarvis wrote on Twitter. "This means the end of us."
Right so: never eating <a href="https://twitter.com/la_carnita">@la_carnita</a> again, which I used to do but already wasn't doing bc of the El Chapo cone <a href="https://twitter.com/sweetjesus4life">@sweetjesus4life</a>. Get a clue. <a href="https://t.co/RmIOhwOFgH">pic.twitter.com/RmIOhwOFgH</a>—@balkissoon
The post in question capitalized on the 2005 video leaked last week in which Trump brags about groping women without any warning.
"I'm automatically attracted to beautiful — I just start kissing them," he says in the video. "It's like a magnet. Just kiss. I don't even wait. And when you're a star they let you do it. You can do anything."
Right after that, he said, "grab them by the pussy. You can do anything."
The Republican nominee issued a rare apology for the comments, although some criticized it as being insincere as Trump had already downplayed his remarks as mere "locker room talk."
The four-restaurant chain issued a three-tweet apology Tuesday night after removing the post.
"Tonight, we made a mistake. A big one," La Carnita tweeted at 9:19 p.m. "We used a caption that was dumb, rude and insensitive."
Part 1. Friends + followers,<br><br>Tonight, we made a mistake. A big one. We used a caption that was dumb, rude, and insensitive.—@la_carnita
Part 2. Once we realized our error, we quickly removed it. For anyone who saw it, know that we understand your anger—@la_carnita
Part 3. and fully realize why it was inappropriate. We truly apologize. We can do better, and we will. <br><br>Love, la carnita.—@la_carnita
Some patrons thanked the restaurant for acknowledging the insensitivity of the post, but others said the apology didn't go far enough.
<a href="https://twitter.com/la_carnita">@la_carnita</a> apology is a start but I won't be spending money on your business again.—@MelissaLou5
<a href="https://twitter.com/la_carnita">@la_carnita</a> the troubling part is that you folks seem to be known for this kind of thing. Maybe seek some training/education...—@Rudayna_B
Others questioned its sincerity — pointing to an earlier La Carnita tweet that referred to its servers as "tacHOES" in February 2014. The accompanying Instagram post for that tweet has since been deleted.
The Carnita <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/tacHOES?src=hash">#tacHOES</a> should peruse a career as NFL cheerleaders, don't you think? For those of you who… <a href="http://t.co/4GnssV2ifz">http://t.co/4GnssV2ifz</a>—@la_carnita
Balkissoon and others suggested the restaurant make amends by donating to a sexual assault support or crisis centre.
<a href="https://twitter.com/la_carnita">@la_carnita</a> donate to a rape crisis centre. Make it right.—@nicolesimone
Andrew Richmond, CEO of Monarch and Misfits, which owns the popular taqueria chain, said he is "taking this very seriously."
The post was made on Taco Tuesday, so "moving forward every Tuesday we are going to take a portion of sales and donate them to the Canadian Women's Foundation," Richmond told CBC News Wednesday in a telephone interview, adding that the measure would be in effect for the next eight weeks.
<a href="https://twitter.com/la_carnita">@la_carnita</a> We're done.—@dan_j_mac
La Carnita is also making changes internally by implementing mandatory sensitivity training for its managers.
"Our company is made up of 50 per cent women and that said, we want to take steps to re-evaluate how we conduct ourselves," Richmond said.
In the next two months, La Carnita will update Torontonians about the progress made with the sensitivity training and the funds donated, he said.