New Mexico restaurant under fire for ‘Black Olives Matter’ sign

Luther Vandross was outed as gay after his death.

Paisano’s, an Italian restaurant in Albuquerque, wanted to advertise its new tuna and tapenade special, and owner Rick Camuglia decided that it would be funny to riff on Black Lives Matter at the same time.The sign advertising the new special reads: “Black Olives Matter, Try Our Tapenade.”

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“We put up what we thought was a cute play on words, which we do commonly here at the restaurant,” Camuglia told NBC affiliate KOB. “We were trying to promote our pan-seared Ahi tuna with a black olive tapenade relish.”

Several people were outraged by the advertisement, while others were amused, and the restaurant wrote that it had been “inundated with positive, supportive phone calls from the community.”

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The restaurant crew said Friday in a statement:

Since Wednesday, July 13th, we have been inundated with positive, supportive phone calls from the community as well as overwhelmed with business, not only from our “regulars”, but from so many new customers who came from Albuquerque, surrounding cities, and even neighboring States simply to support us.

A heartfelt “Thank You” to you from our Crew, some of whom were moved to tears because of your kind words and outpouring of support.

Many nowadays would contend that society has changed for the worse, but our experience this week has proven the opposite. We have encountered so many quality people of character; salt of the earth and the bedrock of America. Awesome.

Many have shown a unique way to show solidarity. I can’t count the number of customer’s orders who’ve included adding Black Olives to every dish ordered. Pizzas, Sandwiches and pasta dishes with “double Black Olives Please!” all day long. So much that we almost ran out and ordered more.

We have served Albuquerque for over 40 years and look forward to the next 40.

Eventually, the sign was removed after the backlash and controversy continued, though Camuglia said that he had no plans to apologize and did not regret posting the sign.

“I think it shows an interesting state of affairs of where our country is that people, first of all, can be offended by a statement about a vegetable. Black olives matter, and it does matter in our tapenade,” Camuglia said.

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