La Carnita apologizes for Trump-inspired 'grab her by the taco' post

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.


La Carnita issued an apology Tuesday for an Instagram post that set off a wave of negative reaction on social media. (La Carnita/Instagram)

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. 

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."

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 apology

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."

Some patrons thanked the restaurant for acknowledging the insensitivity of the post, but others said the apology didn't go far enough.

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.  

Balkissoon and others suggested the restaurant make amends by donating to a sexual assault support or crisis centre.

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.

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.