After nearly a decade of gracing the wall at Schnitzel Haus in Brooklyn, N.Y., a signed photo of Donald Trump has been removed after Internet detractors accused the restaurants owners of racism.
Fred and Amber Urban opened their eatery—an ode to their native Germany—in 2007. At the time, the couple were close with Trump’s then head of security, reports the Brooklyn Daily. Upon opening, the real estate mogul himself-- whose paternal grandfather immigrated to the U.S. from Germany-- visited the restaurant to wish the new business owners success.
After the meeting, the Urbans received a signed headshot of The Donald that read: “To Fred + Amber, best of luck with Schnitzel Haus! Best wishes — Donald Trump.” And it’s been on the restaurant wall ever since.
“I was honored to hang the photo,” Fred Urban said. “He’s a prominent businessman and a big supporter of German-American heritage.”
— BrooklynDaily (@brooklyndaily) August 3, 2016
But as the Republican presidential nominee continues to spout controversial statements about immigrants and suggest policies like a proposed ban on all Muslims entering the U.S., Amber Urban says her business has been feeling the backlash for having a photo on the wall. Yelpers have been commenting not just on the quality of the sausages, but how strongly they feel about the decor.
“Came here with friends and The food was good, but I felt uncomfortable the whole time. On the wall there is a picture of Donald Trump. I just couldn't stop thinking about me ,a black man with plenty of Mexican friends, supporting a business that supports such a racists and disgusting person as he is,” wrote one reviewer on July 28 who compared using a picture of Trump to displaying an image of Adolf Hitler.
“They are trump supporters as there is a pic.... food isn't bad, but isn't the greatest... really wanted to try the sausages ...” wrote another reviewer.
Fred Urban was initially defensive about the sign, according to Brooklyn Daily, and posted a lengthy message defending his position:
“We have many Mexican, black, Hispanic, Chinese, white, Milano, Indian, German, Italian ( I can go on and on) patrons that adore the schnitzel Haus for its food and hospitality. The picture of trump was given to us after he visited the day after we opened 9 years ago to wish us good luck. He meet us at an event we sponsored during German heritage month at NYU. He was the German American ambassador for the year we opened. If he wasn't running for president we would not even been wasting time on here chatting about this however living in America and the ability to have freedom of speech is obviously not a stronghold that was learned by many. We have removed the picture tonight because I don't like To waste time defending my right to display a picture in my own restaurant. I am hoping autographed Al Pacino picture didn't offend you also."
But by Wednesday the vitriol has reached a boiling point and the owners decided to remove the signed picture.
“When you’re hurting my income and taking food off my family’s table, we’re forced to make changes,” said Amber Urban. Still, the owners are surprised that an image is sparking such controversy.
“Honestly, I was very upset. I don’t know how posting a picture on the wall is promoting hatred.”