Edgar Antillon had no idea the sort of firestorm that the simple, handwritten signs he was posting on Saturday in his Milliken, Colorado, restaurant were about to unleash.
“White Appreciation Day! June 11,” they read. “Because all Americans should be celebrated!”
The plan was for Rubbin' Buttz BBQ and Country Café to honor white Americans by offering a 10 percent discount that day.
“It was our humorous way of poking fun at our society,” Antillon, the 30-year-old co-owner of the restaurant, told Fox News Latino. “It’s almost racist not to have a day to honor white people, who make up a large portion of American culture.”
But that’s not the way people took the gesture. The days that followed have been filled with bomb threats and death threats and Denver Police officers getting stationed at his home.
“I’ve had people tell me that they’re going to gut me,” Antillon said.
But that doesn’t mean that the married father of four has any regrets.
“None whatsoever,” he said emphatically. “Never will I regret it, never will I apologize.”
Nor will he cancel. White Appreciation Day will go ahead, he said. “People are too busy walking on eggshells all the time to ever accomplish anything.”
Asked if the anger was coming more from white people or minorities, Antillon said, “It’s all over the place, really.”
Two days after news of the event was aired on the local KUSA-TV station, it was reported that Antillon and his fellow-owner Miguel Jimenez, were changing the promotion to include people of all races—something Antillon insists had always been their intent.
The restaurant owner was born and raised in the Denver area to parents who immigrated from a small town in Chihuahua, Mexico. He started a 501(c)3 group called “Guns for Everyone,” which provides free classes in carrying concealed firearms, and bought Rubbin' Buttz BBQ earlier this year.
He admits that Jimenez, who was born in Guadalajara, Mexico, “is a little more concerned” about the controversy, as are other members of his own family.
Earlier this week, when calling Antillon’s home — which he shares with his wife, their four kids, and his mother-in-law — FNL spoke to the mother-in-law, Loretta, who was upset about police officers who were stationed at the house.
She also expressed deep misgivings about the controversy.
“I understand what they’re doing,” she told FNL about White Appreciation Day, “but I think they should have thought it out a bit better.”
For his part, Antillon is trying to focus on the good.
“I don’t get worried about negatives,” he said. “I’m almost glad this conversation has happened…. We have to overcome this ugliness.”
He added that there have been good things to come out of it as well.
“My entire family’s restaurant meal on Mother’s Day,” he said, “was paid for by someone else who told me, ‘I appreciate what you’re trying to do.’”