Bar Charlotte in Charlotte, North Carolina, posted a meme on Instagram about the recent turbulence in Baltimore and immediately faced a backlash for the photo, which some considered insensitive.
The photo shows actor Gene Wilder as Willy Wonka with a text overlay that reads: ”You're being treated poorly by police? Have you tried not breaking the law to see if that helps?”
Protests and riots in Baltimore followed the death of 25-year-old Freddie Gray in police custody from a spinal cord injury.
Instagram user @jimmyquetron, who listed his name as Tony Jr, took a screenshot of the original Instagram image and posted it earlier this week. The post was later taken down and the Bar Charlotte’s account was made private.
One of the bar’s managers said the post was made by a former employee who was retaliating against the business for his or her termination. The unnamed manager told WBTV that Bar Charlotte’s social media accounts are managed by multiple employees, but that the passwords have since been changed.
The same day the post was made, Bar Charlotte apologized for the meme in another Instagram post.
In a 2012 Yelp review, the reviewer implies Bar Charlotte denied him entry because of his race. Yelp user Hot N. wrote in his one-star review, “I was denied entry on 12/21/12. The door man, said I was denied entry because of my boots. On the website it says that the dress code was no construction boots, which I clearly had on Aldo boots.”
He added: “I am a successful, preppy looking black guy. This has never happened to me before at any other club downtown.”
Overall, the bar has a two-star rating on Yelp.