Eugenior Joseph, a 22-year-old Trump supporter, was dining with his girlfriend and her family at a Cheesecake Factory in Miami this past Sunday when he claimed dozens of employees verbally attacked him for wearing a MAGA hat.
In an interview published yesterday by conservative news site The Daily Wire, witnesses confirmed the verbal abuse, saying that a female employee instigated the altercation by walking up to Joseph, pointing at his hat and motioning for fellow employees to join her.
"Her finger was literally on top of his head, we were all looking at her like 'what is happening?'" a witness recounted. "She was pointing at him, calling her other coworkers, telling them to look at this guy wearing a Make America Great Again hat."
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The witness continued, "So then all the employees started standing there, saying things out loud, like, 'I'm going to knock his head in so hard his hat's going to come off.'"
Joseph said that one Cheesecake Factory worker "got behind me and another coworker came by and they were staring at each other and he fist bumped him and then he started looking at me, balling his fists, smacking his fists, trying to scare me."
According to witnesses, along with threatening statements and intimidating body language, employees also reportedly used racial slurs when berating Joseph, who is black.
EXCLUSIVE: Cheesecake Factory Employees Attack Black Man For Wearing MAGA Hat https://t.co/m6HvEICTD6— The Daily Wire (@realDailyWire) May 15, 2018
The Daily Wire claimed to have viewed a number of videos and photos validating witnesses' accounts and those of the Trump supporter.
A statement issued to Metro from the Cheesecake Factory's senior director of PR, Alethea Rowe, read: "No guest should ever feel unwelcome in one of our restaurants and we are taking this matter very seriously. Upon learning of this incident, we immediately apologized to the guests in person. The individuals involved in the incident have been suspended pending the results of our investigation." Our request for more specific information regarding the number of employees suspended was not granted.
The company issued the same statement on Twitter early this morning:
No guest should ever feel unwelcome in one of our restaurants and we are taking this matter very seriously. Upon learning of this incident, we immediately apologized to the guests in person. The individuals involved have been suspended pending the results of our investigation.— Cheesecake Factory (@Cheesecake) May 15, 2018
Past Trump supporter harassment over MAGA hats at dining places
As Fox reported, a similar incident involving harassment of a Trump supporter at a restaurant occurred in January 2017. Greg Piatek, a Philly native, was wearing a MAGA hat at The Happiest Hour bar in NYC when he alleged that workers refused to serve him and proceeded to kick him out. The bar claimed that his accounts were incorrect and that he actually chose to leave himself.
A Manhattan judge ruled that the law does not protect people against political discrimination. It's important to note, however, that under New York equal employment opportunity laws, employers can't discriminate against employees based on their political affiliation or beliefs.
Another Trump supporter wearing a MAGA hat claimed employees at a Sugar Loaf, New York, Mexican restaurant denied her service back in 2016.
The restaurant posted to Facebook, saying it doesn’t "discriminate against anyone based on race, religion, gender, sexual preference or political beliefs." It claimed that the Trump supporter and her friend were asked to leave because they were being "rowdy due to intoxication" and rude to staff members.