A restaurant in Albuquerque, New Mexico, sparked outrage by displaying a billboard proclaiming, “Black Olives Matter — Try Our Tapenada,” back in July. As it turns out, Paisano’s Italian restaurant is not yet finished with capitalizing the business at the expense of minority communities in crisis.
After generating a lot of backlash for the billboard (which resulted in complaints from the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People in Albuquerque and the billboard’s eventual removal), Paisano’s management has once again chosen to exercise the same marketing tactic, and is now using the wordplay to sell merchandise.
Owner Rick Camuglia apparently does not see a problem with using the racially insensitive slogan previously and his latest move has made it crystal clear that he is a man without remorse.
“I think if that offends some people, a statement about black olives, that somebody needs to reevaluate their politically correct meter,” he said about the billboard in July.
True to form, he has now posted advertisement on the restaurant’s Facebook page, so that people can buy T-shirt emblazoned with “Black Olives Matter” just for $20. The design has the letter O replaced with an olive and the letter V replaced with a pizza. You can also buy caps featuring the same slogan for $25.
Many Facebook users have pointed out that Camuglia’s way of cashing in on the catchphrase doesn't just stink of racism and insensitivity but, as one user pointed out, is laughing “at those innocent people who ended up murdered for being in the wrong place.”
Yet, Camuglia still asserts he is not trying to spread racial tensions and is only trying to sell food. He also said people from all over the world including Australia, Spain and France have called him and shown appreciation for his business.
From the huge amount of support on his Facebook page and its unwavering 3.9 star rating, it’s clear Camuglia isn’t the only one who doesn’t care about ridiculing serious issues. Many of his supporters have called his slogan “cute” and “harmless.”
By mid-August, police had killed at least 167 black people this year alone across the U.S., according to The Guardian — and that’s certainly not a laughing matter.