Cinco de Mayo bar promotion has Latino activists calling for boycott
Latino activists called for a boycott Saturday of a popular Patchogue bar this upcoming Cinco De Mayo.
The protest came after a Cinco de Mayo promotion on the Off Key Tikki’s website Thursday featured what many believed to be racist language. The promotion read, "Join us for a little taste of Mexico (might as well before the whole country immigrates here!)"
“I've been besides myself since this started,” owner Michael Bruemmer told News 12 Long Island. “Like I said, the comment was an offhand joke. Obviously, I wrote it before I thought. I certainly did not mean to offend anybody. That was not my intention.”
Bruemmer says he apologized and removed the flier. He added that he runs an inclusive bar with a diverse staff and stressed that the ad was a mistake
Some in the Latino community said, however, Bruemmer's apology was not enough.
Assemblyman Phil Ramos, some Long Island politicians and Hispanic community leaders demonstrated in front of the bar.
"There was a time when our community was silent. We are silent no more," Ramos said. "There is no way that we can spin this any other way than offensive."
"No more hate. The hate has to stop," said Patchogue Mayor Paul Pontieri.
It was 14 years ago when Ecuadorian immigrant Marcelo Lucero was murdered on the streets of Patchogue by several young men because of his race.
The village has risen from that moment, but many still worry that same hate is still around.
"We are not here to hurt a small business, but rather, we are here to make a statement that these actions are unacceptable," said Village Trustee Lizbeth Carrillo.
Even with all the controversy and demonstrations, some bar patrons said it just didn't bother them.
"I think they are making a big deal out of nothing. I don't know what to tell you. It's out of hand. It's a joke a joke. Got to be able to take a joke," said John Seiber, of Sayville.
Bruemmer said he's willing to meet with community leaders to come to a solution. However, some activists said the damage has already been done.