After hanging on the wall for almost a decade, a signed photo of Donald Trump was reluctantly removed by the owner of the Schnitzel Haus in Brooklyn after negative reviews based on the photo were posted on Yelp.
The photo was sent by Donald Trump himself when the restaurant opened its doors in 2007, and was an unsolicited, but welcomed, gift from the real-estate mogul who traces his roots back to Germany. It was signed with a message that read: “To Fred + Amber, best of luck with Schnitzel Haus! Best wishes — Donald Trump.”
Hanging the photo should never have been seen as an endorsement of the now Republican Presidential Nominee, and when owner Fred Urban was asked about his possible political leanings, he responded with a simple “We don’t speak politics, we speak beer and wurst”.
Unfortunately, for Urban, customers were seeing it as an endorsement of Trump and his run for president, and turned to Yelp to drive down the restaurants ratings.
One patron, Andrew L, left a scathing 2-star review, claiming that the image of Trump left him feeling uncomfortable the entire time, despite the food being good.
Came here with friends and The food was good, but I felt uncomfortable the whole time. On the wall there is a picture of Donald Trump. I just couldn’t stop thinking about me, a black man with plenty of Mexican friends, supporting a business that supports such a racists and disgusting person as he is. Imagine going to a place and they having a picture of Hitler just because he visited them at one point in time. Just not cool. Should be removed.
Amber Urban explained the decision to remove the photo to the Brooklyn Daily, saying: “When you’re hurting my income and taking food off my family’s table, we’re forced to make changes. I was very upset. I don’t know how posting a picture on the wall is promoting hatred.”
In an effort to combat the recent negative Yelp reviews, an official response was written to both state that the photo was taken down and explain why it was there in the first place:
We have many Mexican, black, Hispanic, Chinese, white, Milano, Indian, German, Italian ( I can go on and on) patrons that adore the schnitzel Haus for its food and hospitality. The picture of trump was given to us after he visited the day after we opened 9 years ago to wish us good luck. He meet us at an event we sponsored during German heritage month at NYU. He was the German American ambassador for the year we opened. If he wasn’t running for president we would not even been wasting time on here chatting about this however living in America and the ability to have freedom of speech is obviously not a stronghold that was learned by many.
We have removed the picture tonight because I don’t like To waste time defending my right to display a picture in my own restaurant. I am hoping autographed Al Pacino picture didn’t offend you also. Thanks for your time. And hey all lives matter!! Be strong!
This statement led to some of the negative ratings turning into positive ones that refocused on the quality of the restaurant instead of the decor, including Andrew L’s 2-Star rating that was reposted as 5-Stars.
Of course the formal response has received some negative comments itself, but as the Schnitzel Haus owners are quickly discovering, haters of hate are just going to hate. It’s a vicious cycle.