Earlier this week, J. Kenji Lopez-Alt, chef-partner at Wursthall Restaurant and Bierhaus in San Mateo, California, tweeted that he would refuse service to anyone who came in wearing a MAGA hat.
Wrote Lopez-Alt in the tweet (since deleted) which went viral: “It hasn’t happened yet, but if you come to my restaurant wearing a MAGA cap, you aren’t getting served, same as if you come in wearing a swastika, white hood, or any other symbol of intolerance and hate….
He later tweeted: “MAGA hats are like white hoods, except stupider, because you can see exactly who is wearing them.”
Lopez-Alt told ABC7 in San Francisco that he and his staff have received threats since tweeting about the MAGA hats:
CNN’s Don Lemon and Chris Cuomo discussed the controversy on Thursday night,
“It’s legal, right?” asked Lemon. “You’re the attorney.”
Replied Cuomo, comparing the situation to the Masterpiece Cakeshop SCOTUS case in which Jack Phillips refused to bake a cake for a gay couple’s wedding: “You can refuse service. You know, no shirt, no shoes, no service. Now you’d have a counter first amendment argument. You’re chilling my rights. It’s a private place. Well then, how is this any different than the baker with the cake?”
Added Cuomo: “Well, that was about refusing service to a group of people that should be a protected class, and unless you could argue that Trump supporters should be a protected class, I don’t think you have much of an argument on that. So let’s say this isn’t so much about whether he has the right, it’s about whether or not it is right”
Cuomo went on to say he didn’t want to “undersell” the experience of what MAGA triggers in people and argued that a better analogy would be “if people were wearing shirts that said, ‘I hate black people’ would he be okay to say ‘don’t come in my place with that’ and I think most people would be like ‘yeah.’ That’s how people like him see the MAGA hat.”
Said Lemon: “The thing is, should you? Just because you have the right does it mean that you should? Again, your clothing tells a story about who you are, what you think about, and what you represent. And also, life is not in a vacuum. That hat means a lot of things. If you’re gonna wear that hat – maybe that hat means the Central Park 5 to people, maybe it means birtherism to people, maybe it means Mexicans are rapists to people. So you cannot erase those things from the story of that hat and say, ‘well I’m just wearing it because I want stronger immigration.’ A lot of people want stronger immigration. It can’t just be about what you want it to be about. I don’t like it. I don’t think it should be banned. But it’s the same reason they stopped putting cable news on in some gyms.”