Constant stream of calls to the University of Arizona area restaurant included threats and name-calling.
Stories by Cathalena E. Burch Arizona Daily Star
Tucson's Cup It Up closes after weekend of backlash over Facebook post
Cup It Up American Grill closed for good on Monday, three days after two of its owners posted a politically charged statement on Facebook that prompted angry social media backlash and calls to boycott the University of Arizona-area restaurant.
Julian Alarcon, a former partner who was not involved in Friday’s Facebook post, said the restaurant at 760 N. Tyndall Ave. was the target of harassing and threatening phone calls throughout the weekend. Two employees quit Saturday because of the calls and several more quit throughout the weekend, he said.
“It’s not worth it,” said Alarcon, the operating partner and chef who resigned Saturday morning in response to the Facebook post from partners Christopher Smith and Jay Warren.
The pair’s post laid out their political beliefs that included support for President Trump, standing for the national anthem and repealing Obamacare, and opposition to fake news and the concept of global warming.
That post, which went up at noon Friday, also announced that they would not broadcast NFL games at the restaurant in light of players’ kneeling during the anthem.
Within minutes, the post was met with a barrage of comments, most of them negative and including calls to boycott the restaurant.
The post was taken down three hours later and by Saturday the restaurant had removed itself from social media.
Neither Smith nor Warren returned calls Monday for comment.
In a statement Saturday, the pair apologized for bringing “our personal political beliefs into a business forum” and said they had never intended to “strike a nerve.”
“We assumed there would be some discussion and shares, but never this type of animosity and hostility,” the statement read.
In an interview Saturday morning, Smith said he contemplated closing the restaurant indefinitely after they received harassing phone calls and threats to burn down the building with the owners in it. But the restaurant opened Saturday and Sunday with no incidents, Alarcon said.
Cup It Up opened in early 2016 on North Wilmot Road and moved to the North Tyndall Avenue space in April.
Timeline: Friday, Oct. 6
The owners of Cup It Up announced at the end of a lengthy, politically charged Facebook post that they would no longer show broadcasts of NFL games.
The post listed what the restaurant’s owners believe in — “OUR President Donald J. Trump,” “Always standing for the National Anthem” — and what they do not believe in — “Kneeling for the National Anthem,” “Political correctness.”
The post, drafted by two of the restaurant’s owners Christopher Smith and Jay Warren, was apparently in response to the ongoing debate about NFL players kneeling for the national anthem to protest racial inequality.
The post immediately attracted attention, most of it negative, including from diners who vowed they would never eat in the restaurant again. It was taken down three hours later after nearly 60 people had shared it and more than 30 had commented.
Saturday, Oct. 7
Operating partner Julian Alarcon, the architect of the restaurant’s multilayered meals in a cup menu, resigned and said he was working with an attorney and his partners to legally untangle himself from the restaurant.
Christopher Smith said that they will close the restaurant indefinitely in the wake of widespread calls to boycott; two hours later, he changed his mind and opened the restaurant.
Midafternoon, Smith and Warren issue a statement apologizing for bringing their personal political beliefs “into a business forum.”
“Our decision to bring our personal political beliefs into a business forum is regretful, and for this we apologize to all,” the pair’s statement read. They also said Alarcon had no knowledge of their Friday Facebook post and was not involved in drafting it.
Monday, Oct. 9
Cup It Up announces it is permanently closed after receiving endless phone threats and harassing calls that prompted several employees to quit.