Bar sparks internet outrage after horribly offensive Cinco de Mayo celebration
Though Cinco de Mayo is an important day of celebration and historical remembrance in Mexico, unfortunately, in America, the holiday festivities often come with a heavy dose of cultural appropriation.
This year Hennessey’s Tavern — a pub in Dana Point, California — strayed from the commonly worn yet insensitive party favors of sombreros, ponchos, and fake mustaches. Instead, much to the internet’s ire, it took Cinco de Mayo tone-deafness to whole new level by creating a fake border wall and imitation green cards for its customers.
We wish we were making this up.
For its May 5 promotion, the Orange County pub rented an inflatable climbing wall to represent the Mexican border, and if customers made it to the top, they were rewarded with a fake green card belonging to a fake U.S. resident by the name of Isabelle Orlando.
The “Permanent Drinking Card,” designed to resemble a United States Permanent Resident Card, entitled the holder to one free drink at the bar with the purchase of another of equal or greater value.
Just one question, Hennessey’s Tavern: why?
Aside from being completely unacceptable to begin with, the timing of the promotion is particularly egregious. Conversation around U.S./ Mexico relations has become especially precarious since President Trump announced his controversial plans to build an extremely expensive border wall (that he says Mexico will, of course, pay for) and his harsh immigration bans.
After the celebration effort received a great deal of backlash online and on Yelp, Paul Hennessey of Hennessey’s Tavern posted an official statement on the pub’s Facebook page on Saturday thanking everyone for their comments and claiming to have had nothing but positive intentions with the promotion.
“Our intentions were to create a dialogue and show how ridiculous that it is to spend tens of millions of dollars to build a wall and even infer that Mexico foot some or the entire bill and have their citizens build it,” Hennessey wrote. “This event obviously struck a chord with many of you out there and you and a number of you did not understand our intent.”
Hennessey then encouraged those speaking out against the wall on social media to take their outrage a step further and email their congresspeople, or President Trump himself, to express concerns regarding the wall being built in real life.
But people weren’t buying it.
One Facebook user called the call to action “a transparent attempt to cover up a horrible, tactless, racist event,” while others were openly offended by the fact that the pub now appeared to be offering activism instructions after such a poorly planned event full of stereotypes.
Hennessey isn’t the only one to miss the mark with Cinco de Mayo. To honor the day in 2016, Donald Trump, the man who called Mexicans rapists and “bad hombres,” celebrated Cinco de Mayo 2016 with a very insulting, now infamous tweet dedicated to the best taco bowls: the taco bowls in Trump Tower Grill.
He ended his tweet, already so rich with culture, by announcing, “I love Hispanics!”
Some people just don’t seem to get it.
Mashable reached out to Hennessey’s Tavern for additional comment.