Ah, the internet — it’s an idiot’s playground, but sometimes love trumps stupidity. That was the case when a bunch of internet trolls bombarded Centre Street Cafe’s Facebook page with untruthful, negative reviews, after a restaurant employee posted a video on his personal Facebook page calling out hateful language at a local rally for a certain GOP presidential nominee.
Co-owner Keith Harmon noticed the negative reviews popping up on the restaurant’s Facebook page Tuesday night. (Harmon also co-owns Tres Gatos and Casa Verde, two popular and trendy restaurants in Jamaica Plain.)
The negative reviews, most of which had been removed by Wednesday night, alleged that supporters of Donald Trump had been kicked out of the restaurant, and that a patron had a drink thrown in their face because they didn’t support same-sex marriage. The “reviews” got worse from there, even alleging an employee had offered sexual acts to a patron in the bathroom.
The negative reviews were clearly written by people who had not eaten at the restaurant. They were vague and did not offer specifics about the restaurant, but they did mention the first name of a sous-chef who had posted an anti-Trump video on his Facebook page, and whose profile page contained a link to the restaurant.
“To me, it seems crazy that someone would jump over from a personal post and matter to attack [our business],” Harmon told Boston magazine. “But the business itself, we’re not going to engage in any of this stuff. I do really believe in free speech—[the employee] has a right to say what he wants to say, and these people have a right to say what they want to say.”
But while the negative reviews frustrated Harmon and his co-owners, the restaurant’s loyal and faithful customers quickly responded by bestowing its Facebook page with 5-star reviews that reflected their actual experiences at the beloved Centre Street business.
By Wednesday night, of 173 reviews of the restaurant on Facebook, 152 were 5 stars, with many 5-star reviews provided in the last 24 hours.
Harmon told UniversalHub.com that the employee would not face any reprimand at work for stating his opinions on a personal Facebook page. “As a business, we have no right to tell people what to do outside the workplace,” Harmon said. He did suggest to the employee that he should be careful for awhile because the type of people who came after him and the business “tend to be fairly dangerous.”
Harmon added that managers at the restaurants would pay special attention to customers on Wednesday night to make sure they got out safely. He also said he would be contacting Boston Police District E-13 for advice.