DENVER—The Hispanic restaurant owners who ignited an uproar over their plans to hold White Appreciation Day next month were forced to evacuate their barbecue joint late Friday after a bomb scare.
Co-owner Edgar Antillon said Rubbin’ Buttz BBQ in Milliken, Colorado, was shut down for several hours during the dinner rush after a bomb threat in posts on social media, but he later said that the eatery plans to reopen Saturday.
Shortly before the evacuation, Mr. Antillon told the Washington Times that he has received numerous threats and criticism over the restaurant’s plan to hold White Appreciation Day on June 11. Mr. Antillon and Miguel Jiminez bought the restaurant last month.
“It’s been phone calls, it’s been emails, it’s been on social media,” said Mr. Antillon. “Some are just, ‘Hey, you’re an idiot,’ and others have been legit threats. The former owners of this establishment are receiving threats even though they have nothing to do with this thing. It’s unfortunate.”
He announced Thursday on Twitter that white customers would receive 10 percent off their tab on White Appreciation Day, but he emphasized Friday that the discount would apply to all patrons, regardless of their race.
“It’s like we’ve said many times before, if a black person comes in here and says, ‘Hey, what about my discount,’ they’re going to get a discount,” Mr. Antillon said. “If a Mexican comes in here and says, ‘I want a discount,’ they’re going to get a discount. Nobody’s going to be turned down for anything.”
That may be enough to satisfy the Colorado Civil Rights Division, which investigates complaints of unequal treatment based on race, but it remains to be seen whether the clarification will rein in the restaurant’s detractors.
“You name it: It’s been Mexicans, it’s been white people. It’s been threats as small as, ‘We’re never coming back to your restaurant,’ to, ‘I hope I don’t see you on the street,’” Mr. Antillon said. “It’s been all levels from everybody.”
He said the idea behind White Appreciation Day is to “highlight a double standard,” citing the month-long celebrations for black history and Hispanic heritage, and remind patrons that, “We’re all Americans.”
“It wasn’t something that we took lightly and just jumped the gun. We thought about it, we thought about the consequences, we thought about our families,” Mr. Antillon said. “And we still decided that, well, we could live in fear and not do anything, or try and make a statement, make a point that all this racial tension.”
On the plus side, he said the positive comments about the idea have outweighed the negative.
Read more: Washington Times