A business owner who posted a sign on the entrance of his eccentric Italian café in downtown Honolulu banning President Elect Donald Trump supporters, has removed the sign one day after FoxNews.com broke a story about the severe policy.
“If you voted for Trump you cannot eat here! No Nazis,” declared owner Robert Warner on a bright yellow, handmade sign, which he taped to his Café 8/12’s front glass door.
"This is my place and if I don't want to serve a Trump person, I can do that," he told Hawaii News Now on Wednesday, one day after the FoxNews.com report generated thousands of adverse posts in the story comment section as well as on Yelp, Twitter and Facebook.
While Warner claims business has been better than ever since the story went viral in news media across the world, he took the notice down on Wednesday, telling Hawaii News Now: "If somebody came in and said, 'Hey, I know you can't tell who I voted for, but I voted for Trump, would you let me eat?' I would say, 'Sure, if you're nice with me and I'm nice with you and you like my food, sit down, no problem.”
Jali Warner, Warner’s wife, told FoxNews.com the same on Tuesday, noting if a Trump supporter ate there, “we don’t put anything different in your food.” Neither could be reached for comment by phone this week because the phone consistently rang busy.
Warner is known to channel the “soup Nazi” persona of New York City and “Seinfeld” fame -- “throwing pots and pans,” “telling off customers,” and “hanging not-so-friendly reminders on butcher paper for his customers to read.”
Honolulu tech guru Ryan Ozawa, who ate at Café 8 ½ on Wednesday to show his support, said as long as he’s known about the place, “it's been provocative and cranky and cheeky.”
“He's (Warner) got a sharp edge but his wife offsets a lot of it. She's sweet,” Ozawa said.
However, not every customer will continue to be loyal. One patron, who said on Yelp he has eaten at Café 8 ½ for two years, left with his clients when they saw the sign.
“I was so embarrassed as my client read this (sign) out loud. I couldn't believe what I saw…My client immediately turned to me and said ‘I guess we aren't welcomed here.’ My firm will not patronize any establishment that serves up hate and discrimination and the word ‘Nazi’ just because of ones political views.”
It would not be a surprise if business flourished in the largely blue state. Trump only received 29 percent of the General Election vote in Hawaii. All four members of the congressional delegation, the governor, and 70 out of 76 state legislators are Democrats.
However, celebrity Beth Chapman of the CMT television series “Dog and Beth on the Hunt” based around her and her husband, Dwayne “Dog” Chapman’s adventures as bounty hunters, spoke out, telling her 500,000 fans on Facebook that she’d never patronize the establishment.
In a call to FoxNews.com, Chapman said, “I live in Hawaii and I voted for Donald Trump for President. I would never refuse service to someone based on whom they had supported in an election. It's totally unacceptable for anyone to breed such hate in the ‘Aloha State.”
Malia Zimmerman is an award-winning investigative reporter focusing on crime, homeland security, illegal immigration crime, terrorism and political corruption. Follow her on twitter at @MaliaMZimmerman