Remember the Italian restaurant in New Mexico that made national headlines by mocking Black Lives Matter activists and using the slogan "Black Olives Matter" to sell a new tuna and black olive tapenade dish? Well, they're now using that controversy to peddle T-shirts. Paisano's in Albuquerque is selling shirts and other merchandise emblazoned with "Black Olives Matter," KOAT-TV reports.
"It's gone so viral," Paisano's owner Rick Camuglia told KOAT-TV on Monday. "We've gotten calls from Australia, Spain, France, you name it." Camuglia has shared photos of the shirts on social media and is currently selling them on the restaurant's website. He asserts that opportunistically cashing in on the previous backlash spurred by the restaurant’s "Black Olives Matter" sign has been good for business.
"People have filled the restaurant and told us to leave up the sign," Camuglia claimed. "That's great, you know, because a lot of people make a living off working for this restaurant." Many others, however, are outraged by the restaurant's insistence on following their previous controversy with the debut of insensitive merchandise:
In July, the restaurant used their "Black Olives Matter" slogan to advertise a new dish. Following backlash against it, the president of the Albuquerque NAACP told KRQE he felt the joke was in poor taste. "Hopefully, the owners at Paisano's will be a bit more sensitive in the future," Harold Bailey said at the time. "Unjustified killing of innocent Black men is nothing to joke about. Whether it was intentional or not, it sent the wrong message to many. I'm sure they would feel the same way if someone had an offensive marketing idea that placed Hispanics, Italians, or any other ethnic group in a controversial concept."
The original controversy surrounding the billboard was also covered on The Nightly Show With Larry Wilmore:
Representatives for Paisano's did not immediately respond to Complex's request for comment.