It wasn’t really a ‘Free Speech’ t-shirt. But it did assert the wearer’s right to free speech and he lost the fight – at least the first round. A Texas Restaurant kicked him out for wearing the shirt after being hail-stormed with bad online reviews and negative Twitter and Facebook traffic over the issue…
Okay. Maybe you think he was asking for it. Andy Ternay wore a t-shirt with ‘F**K TRUMP And F**k You For Voting For Him’ on the front, and ‘F**K The Racist ALT-Right’ on the back.
Ternay related his side of the story in a Facebook post that Mandy Velez of The Daily Beast was able to read before it was privatized. She wrote the following, opening with a quote from the post…
“First, we were approached by a manager who let us know that customers were very distressed by my shirt and that children might see it,” he recalled in the post. “I expressed deep sympathies and let her know that explaining ‘grab ‘em by the pussy’ and golden showers to my daughter was equally unpleasant.”
As they were being seated, the manager again told him that a group nearby “was suffering due to my indescribable poor taste.” He replied that he did not see a problem. But a problem arose after Ternay’s drinks had been served and his order taken: a cook had come out and asked him to leave. A table had reportedly complained, but not to their server (who was of color), but to a white manager.
“We ask to tip our server for occupying her table, get drinks to go and leave. One table of white people applauds,” he continued.
While in the parking lot, a black server approached him and explained he quit on the spot after seeing the restaurant ask Ternay to leave.
“He told us: ‘You should hear these people asking not to be seated near Muslims.’”
The resto was subsequently buffeted by a storm of bad reviews online.
Maybe so. Or maybe they took the shirt’s message personally. Whatever. And it’s hard to say who was in the right – the owners or the customer. How far can they legally go, enforcing their personal values on their private property? Is their word final? Or do Ternay’s First Amendment rights supersede their wishes?
It’s been suggested that Ternay could charge the resto with discrimination, having kicked him out for expressing himself (albeit, too freely for the owners’ taste) while on their premises.
I’ll be keeping an eye on this one, especially if it goes to the Supreme Court. But, somehow, I don’t think Ternay will punch back too hard. He hasn’t made a big deal of the incident thus far… But those who oppose him certainly have.
What do you think? Who’s in the right in this case? Ternay or the resto owners? It’s a tough call.
UPDATE: A transcript of the full post can be viewed here.
~ Maggie J.