For nearly a decade, an autographed portrait of U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump adorned one of the walls of Schnitzel Haus, a German eatery in Brooklyn, New York. But Trump’s picture was taken down following a sea of complaints from customers who accused the restaurant of racism.
The Schnitzel Haus’ business reportedly took a hit because the restaurant displayed a picture of Donald Trump. Owners Fred and Amber Urban started their restaurant in 2007. The Urbans were friends with Trump’s then head of security and on the restaurant’s opening day, Trump himself turned up to wish the couple success. After the launch, he sent the Urbans an autographed headshot that read, “To Fred + Amber, best of luck with Schnitzel Haus! Best wishes — Donald Trump.” which found its place on the restaurant’s wall.
“I was honored to hang the photo,” Fred Urban said. “He’s a prominent businessman and a big supporter of German-American heritage.”
Trump, whose paternal grandfather immigrated to the U.S. from Germany, throughout his campaign has been in the spotlight for his controversial statements which include a proposed wall along the border with Mexico and a temporary ban on Muslims entering the U.S.
Customers complained about the picture hanging in the establishment on the crowd-sourced reviews app Yelp!
“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 racist and disgusting person as he is. Imagine going to a place and they having a picture of Hitler just because he visited them at one point in time. Just not cool. Should be removed,” one of the reviews read.
Fred Urban wrote a long Facebook post defending the restaurant’s position in hanging the picture of Trump. “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 met 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,” the post read.
The owners caved in Wednesday and removed the picture, saying that it was hurting their business. “When you’re hurting my income and taking food off my family’s table, we’re forced to make changes,” Amber Urban said, “Honestly, I was very upset. I don’t know how posting a picture on the wall is promoting hatred.”