A Chinese food restaurant in Santa Cruz, California, has closed following a boycott in reaction to the owner’s contributions to David Duke’s 2016 U.S. Senate campaign, local paper the Mercury News reports. Restaurant patrons got word that Roger Grigsby, owner of O’mei Szechuan Chinese Restaurant, supported the former Ku Klux Klan leader’s campaign after contribution records appeared on a local site. This week, signs on the restaurant’s windows announced that O’mei would be closed for the foreseeable future due to “slanderous and malicious internet rumors.”
Grigsby confirmed that he had made multiple donations totaling $500 to Duke’s campaign, but lambasted patrons for spreading “political terror.” He blames not only boycotting patrons, but also employees who quit and then posted negative Yelp reviews for O’mei’s demise. Both the restaurant’s Yelp and Facebook pages have been flooded with criticisms, and the Yelp page is currently in active cleanup mode.
Grigsby attempted to defend himself against the “malicious internet rumors” in a phone conversation with the Mercury News. “All the things they called me: white supremacist, neo-Nazi, KKK — it’s all bullshit,” he said. “My girlfriend and my former wife were both Chinese. Anybody who knows me, it’s like the United Colors of Benetton in our restaurant. We’ve had every ethnicity.”
Grigsby also praised Duke, crediting the former KKK Imperial Wizard with “defending the civil rights of European-Americans, whites.” Not stopping there, he went on to say, “The very word, ‘white supremacist’ is an attack. Nobody calls Mexicans and blacks and Chinese ‘Nazis.’ They only call white people ‘Nazis.’ The idea there is to make guilt by association of two words. White people and evil Nazis.”
O’mei had been in business for 38 years and was something of a Santa Cruz institution. Former restaurant patrons who spoke to the Mercury News lament only that the restaurant’s staff that will have to find other jobs.
• Boycott closes popular Santa Cruz restaurant, owner defends David Duke donations [The Mercury News]