A Florida restaurant owner's controversial sign has sparked protest in his community.
William Davis’ seafood restaurant, Barnacle Bill’s Seafood, in Sarasota, Florida, replaced the eateries’ regular marquee text with “NRA member, concealed carry OK, not a deplorable, vote Trump.”
A Facebook post about the sign went viral with over 782 comments, ranging from comical to irate to supportive of the NRA and the presidential candidates, according to WWSB.
Unsurprisingly, local Democrats are upset about the sign and planned a protest. But when Republicans caught wind of the demonstration, hundreds of Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump supporters showed up, outnumbering a handful of Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton supporters.
Local news reported less than 20 Clinton supporters in the crowd surrounded by more than 100 Trump supporters. One woman carrying a Clinton sign weaved her way around in the crowd and had words with only one Trump supporter, who was at the end of the line.
Although there were no confrontations, Sarasota police were on standby during the protest. Trump protesters were chanting “USA!” and there was even a woman standing behind a cardboard wall to illustrate Trump’s promise to clamp down on illegal immigration.
Davis posted the political message after Clinton used the phrase "basket of deplorables" to label half of Trump supporters at a recent fundraiser.
"I got rather upset when I heard that comment from Hillary, and I just felt I had to take a stand and let people know where I stood," says Davis.
"Well it makes us look like we're Trump supporters if we eat at a restaurant where there's a Trump sign, and we're not, we're Hillary supporters," says John Hanlon, who has had lunch at Barnacle Bill's every Thursday for the past several years.
The establishment’s owner told WFLA that he received more than a thousand emails and calls from patrons who voiced their opposition to everything he stands for, promising to boycott the restaurant.
"It was a big gamble on my part, because usually dealing with the public, I try to sit on the fence and not take sides," says Davis. "I just couldn't do it anymore."
However, Davis says his business is booming from conservatives in town. He says, "I have people walking in, and they go, 'We're deplorable, may we have a seat?'"