Andy Ternay walked into the First Watch café in Richardson, Texas, with his partner, and proceeded to order. However, he was soon approached by the restaurant manager and asked to leave.
He took to Facebook to narrate the incident. “First, we were approached by a manager who let us know that customers were very distressed by my shirt and that children might see it. I expressed deep sympathies and let her know that explaining ‘grab ‘em by the pussy’ and golden showers to my daughter was equally unpleasant.”
The front of Ternay’s shirt read “FUCK TRUMP AND FUCK YOU FOR VOTING FOR HIM” while the back read “FUCK THE RACIST ALT-RIGHT.”
According to Ternay, the manager told him that a group of customers “was suffering due to my indescribable poor taste.” Ternay maintained that he did not see a problem. The incident escalated after they had been served drinks and made their orders.
A cook appeared and asked the duo to leave.
He continued, “We ask to tip our server for occupying her table, get drinks to go and leave. One table of white people applauds.” When they got to the parking lot, a black server approached him to let him know that he had quit after seeing Ternay kicked out.
“He told us: ‘you should hear these people asking not to be seated near Muslims.’”
Speaking to The Daily Beast, Ternay stated that he received compliments about his shirt from people of color. “[A] Latino lady at the register thanked me [and] two African American servers said my shirt was awesome,” he said.
He maintained that the reason he wore the shirt was to let friends, neighbors, and family members know where he stood.
“I don’t want people of color, Muslims, LGBTQ [people], immigrants to feel alone. The proper use of white male privilege is to help lift others. To speak truth to power,” he said.
After leaving the restaurant, he met an officer in the parking lot. Recounting the exchange, Ternay wrote: “I stop the car and ask the officer if she is there over a t-shirt. She affirms this to be true and asks my name which I respectfully decline to give; she starts in on the shirt—whereupon I cite Cohen v. California, 1971, in which the Supreme Court upheld the right to wear a t-shirt saying: ‘FUCK THE DRAFT.’ She’s like: ‘Just leave, okay?’”
The Daily Beast received a statement from the restaurant’s corporate offices. It read; “When we asked the gentleman to leave our restaurant yesterday, it was in response to complaints from customers and families with young children regarding the vulgar obscenities boldly emblazoned on his shirt. Just as young children cannot go to R-rated movies that feature language like that, we do not believe they should be exposed to it in a family restaurant and we absolutely understand our customers’ uneasiness and decided to invoke our right to refuse service to that individual. In fact, our decision closely aligns with The Daily Beast’s choice to edit or filter obscenities in articles on occasion. Despite claims to the contrary made by others not informed of the event specifics, this incident has nothing to do with any political statement or the color of people’s skin.”
Despite the incident, Ternay doesn’t want to condemn the restaurant, and isn’t planning to boycott.
His post quickly went viral, with over 42k shares. He stated that responses from the African American community concerned him the most.
He told The Daily Beast: “I have gotten heartbreaking messages from African Americans saying they have lost faith in their white neighbors—they are no longer confident their neighbors have their back. My shirt was a reassurance they are not alone.”