March 26, 2012 at 12:52 PM ET
Jokes about domestic abuse seldom find a receptive audience, as one Georgia restaurant found out.
Chops & Hops, a steakhouse in Watkinsville, Ga., posted a photo on its Facebook and Twitter pages March 23 of a blue cheese-smothered steak entree, with the caption, "@chrisbrown, @rihanna and us teamed up for a award winning celebrity sandwich. Put your hands on this caribbean black and bleu sandwich."
The pun didn’t stop there, as the post went on to remark, “Chris Brown won't beat you up for eating this unless your name starts with a R and ends with A."
The eatery’s joke references the 2009 physical spat between Brown and Rihanna, in which Brown attacked his pop star girlfriend and later pled guilty to assault. Images of Rihanna’s bruised and bloodied face then spread across the Internet.
“Cannot believe you find this appropriate,” wrote Nancy Downend Ferguson in reply to the Facebook entry. “Was a loyal customer. Will never come back.”
“Celebrity sandwiches are a fine idea, but it's one thing to mock a celebrity or make up something clever about them for a sandwich but this was on poor, poor taste,” says Leslie Boby-Sabatinelli.
Mychell Lang, a representative of the restaurant, issued an apology on Facebook on Satuday, writing, “The owners of C&H would like to make sure everyone knows that we and our staff DO NOT SUPPORT DOMESTIC VIOLENCE. Many of us have been affected by domestic violence in some manner and realize that this is no joke. We have been involved in fundraising for Project Safe Team 6 and we fully intend on donating proceeds (times 6 -- in honor of Team 6) from the sales of the burger. C&H continues to strive for a community driven, family oriented, great food and great service environment. We will continue to be involved in our community fundraising and charities near and dear to our hearts.”
“OK ... let it go and move forward!” wrote Kelli-David Chase on Facebook. “Was it in poor taste? YES!! But they've apologized and are making amends by donating proceeds. Have YOU never made a mistake in life that you regretted? And are you still being reminded about it? Seriously!”
“I'm astounded by how much a restaurant is being [chastised] over something as silly as this,” says Todd Sturtz. “I mean Jay Leno, Conan O'Brien, Jimmy Kimmel, etc, make non-P.C. joking comments and references JUST like this FOR A LIVING, and millions of people continue to tune in to their shows and pay hard earned $ just to hear them. Chops & Hops didn't call the sandwich the "Domestic Violence is Awesome" Burger, they just made fun of some jerk BECAUSE he did something awful, using their art medium -- food. Wake up and smell the ground beef, people.”
Counters LaWanza Christina, “If this company were really sorry about their comments, they'd have deleted the post, or at the very least gone in and edited the description. But since NEITHER has happened, they are fine with using domestic violence as a selling point. Either way, even if I knew where this place was, I wouldn't patronize it.”
Was the restaurant right to apologize? Tell us on Facebook.