Eiffel en Eden set up a chalkboard sign on the sidewalk in front of its entrance with a colorful message written in chalk that read: “On Valentine’s Day open the car door for her. After Valentine’s Day open the car boot [trunk] for her.”
A photo of the sign was shared on Twitter, calling the café out for making light of domestic violence.
“After so much effort to raise awareness of New Zealand's terrible violence against women a slow clap and a jaw drop for the most tone-deaf, unfunny sign in Auckland outside Eiffel en Eden on Dominion Road,” Ana Samways wrote.
Many commenters with equally outraged by the message, sharing their own distaste for the sign.
“That is disgusting!!”
“How was it still standing? Would’ve kicked it down lol.”
“That’s unbelievably awful.”
“It's like they *want* to alienate more than 50% of their customers. Not really playing with a full deck, is he?”
“That's so many levels of wrong.”
The café reportedly explained that the joke was meant to reference opening the trunk so a woman can load or unload groceries.
Others wrote that they spoke with the owner and explained how the message was coming across as offensive but he supposedly just argued that he has freedom of speech and told them to leave his shop. Someone else wrote that an employee hung up on them when they called to discuss it.
People also commented that they don’t understand why he’d want to keep the sign up since it’s alienating so many customers.
“The appropriate response would’ve been ‘oh crap, I didn’t know it could be taken that way, thank you for letting me know, I’ll change it.’ Seriously, how hard is it to be mindful of others?”
“I'm a big fan of freedom of speech, but where is his upside in this? What is the point?”
Not everyone, however, took the message as offensive and think it’s being blown out of proportion.
“What's wrong with the boot? Don't know about you guys - but that's where I put my groceries. As a busy working mum, to have a spare set of hands for that - is great!”
“A vague and ambiguous sign you've chosen to interpret in the worst way possible...”
Apparently this isn’t the first time this café has posted a questionable message on its signboard. One Twitter user shared a photo of the sign from March 2018 with another joke that comes off as misogynistic.
Eiffel en Eden couldn’t be reached for comment because the business removed its Facebook page.