Is there a sadder sentence in the English language than "The Cheesecake Factory calls out a man for possibly lying during an appearance on the president's favorite cable-news TV show?" (No.) Can the news cycle in any way get dumber than "Conservatives are mad that a mediocre restaurant chain isn't sufficiently patriotic?" (The answer to that is probably yes, somehow.)
Today is now, officially, the darkest day of Donald Trump's first 16 months in office. Over the weekend, a Miami man, Eugenior Joseph, sent the right-wing blogosphere into a rage-spiral after he claimed Cheesecake Factory employees leered at him and "smacked their knuckles" around him, all because he wore a "Make America Great Again" hat to the chain's Dadeland Mall location on Mother's Day. He says they were extra-upset because he is black.
Someone in Joseph's party called Miami-Dade County Police, who arrived at the restaurant, did nothing, and left, because it sure seemed like barely anything happened. This didn't stop Joseph from appearing today on Fox & Friends, one of our big baby president's only news sources, to complain about his alleged treatment at the goddam Cheesecake Factory. The Daily Wire, Ben Shapiro's nonsense news site, broke the story and somehow claimed the employees had set up a "lynch mob" around the MAGA-wearing patron, and other right-wing outlets have claimed the incident was an "attack" — but many of these claims haven't held up under basic levels of scrutiny.
Now, following Joseph's appearance on Fox & Friends, the Cheesecake Factory — the Cheesecake Factory! — is clapping back and tweeted out a statement this morning claiming that either Joseph or the right-wing media is blowing the story out of proportion. The company says that only two employees made "disparaging remarks" about Joseph's MAGA hat and that the restaurant's surveillance cameras don't appear to back up much of what Joseph is telling people.
"We are taking this situation seriously [editor's note: Please kill us], however, not all of the information reported by the media accurately portrays what occurred," the restaurant said around 10:30 this morning. "The situation may have been exacerbated by an all-staff meeting that took place during our shift change between our staff members working the lunch and dinner shifts — which may have been perceived as a crowd gathering near the guests' tables."
All guests should always feel welcome in our restaurants. The recent incident in one of our Miami restaurants fell short of our standards, and we apologize to the guest and his family. Two individuals are no longer employed by the company, and we are continuing to investigate. pic.twitter.com/gbrh1Ok8iC— Cheesecake Factory (@Cheesecake) May 16, 2018
That's version of events is certainly not what Joseph has claimed happened. He told New Times yesterday that he showed up at the restaurant Sunday with "11 or 12 people" as part of a Mother's Day celebration but that a whole crowd of employees pointed at his hat, made jokes about knocking it off, and even booed him when he walked to the bathroom. He claims that he left without eating and that the ordeal terrified his girlfriend's elderly grandparents. Joseph claims he has video clips of the incident, but so far, for some strange reason, he has not released the footage publicly.
"There was one guy behind me, staring me down, clenching his hand in a fist," Joseph said yesterday. "They were disrespectful, jokingly saying they were going to put stuff in our food. We left without eating."
Someone in his party called the cops: A police report New Times obtained shows officers were absolutely not concerned about what was happening that day.
"No threats were made," the report reads. "No physical altercation occurred."
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Of course, this didn't stop the conservative media from absolutely losing their minds — the Blaze claimed a "mob" of employees intimidated Joseph, while Fox News referred to the incident as an "attack." (Hilariously, one right-wing YouTuber named "Red Pill Philosophy" went to the Dadeland restaurant yesterday, wore a "Trump 2020" shirt, filmed himself getting treated pretty nicely by the staff, and subsequently said in his broadcast that he thinks the Joseph's incident was probably "too good to be true" as well.) According to CBS News, the chain's stock price has dropped 2 percent since news of the ordeal broke.
Somehow the president has not yet lobbed a series of angry tweets at the Cheesecake Factory.
Hours later, a restaurant chain that sells dishes such as "Chicken Parmesan 'pizza style'" and "Craig's crazy carrot cake cheesecake" decided it had had enough of this shit and clapped back on Twitter. So congratulations to a restaurant chain that serves diet food under a menu section called "Skinnylicious" for still having more factual integrity than the largest cable-news outlet in America.