A cafe in Auckland, New Zealand, has sparked outrage for the “disgusting” Valentine’s Day sign it has on display.
Eiffel en Eden set up a chalkboard sign on the sidewalk in front of its entrance with a colorful message written in chalk that read: “On Valentine’s Day open the car door for her. After Valentine’s Day open the car boot [trunk] for her.”
But a photo of the sign was shared on Twitter, calling the eatery out for making light of domestic violence.
“After so much effort to raise awareness of New Zealand’s terrible violence against women a slow clap and a jaw drop for the most tone-deaf, unfunny sign in Auckland outside Eiffel en Eden on Dominion Road,” Ana Samways wrote.
The photo quickly attracted a fiery backlash, with many commenters equally outraged by the message, slamming it as “disgusting,” “revolting” and “unbelievably awful.”
“It’s like they *want* to alienate more than 50% of their customers. Not really playing with a full deck, is he?” another shocked social media user wrote.
“That’s so many levels of wrong.”
The cafe reportedly explained that the joke was meant to reference opening the trunk so a woman can load or unload groceries — which doesn’t actually make it much better.
Others wrote that they spoke with the owner and explained how the message was coming across as offensive, but he supposedly just argued that he has freedom of speech and told them to leave his shop.
Another patron claimed an employee hung up on them when they called to discuss it.
People also commented that they don’t understand why the owner would want to keep the sign up since it’s alienating so many customers.
“The appropriate response would’ve been ‘oh crap, I didn’t know it could be taken that way, thank you for letting me know, I’ll change it.’ Seriously, how hard is it to be mindful of others?” one person pointed out.
“I’m a big fan of freedom of speech, but where is his upside in this? What is the point?” another said.
Not everyone, however, took the message as offensive, and some think it’s being blown way out of proportion.
“What’s wrong with the boot? Don’t know about you guys but that’s where I put my groceries. As a busy working mum, to have a spare set of hands for that is great!”
“A vague and ambiguous sign you’ve chosen to interpret in the worst way possible…”
But apparently, this isn’t the first time this cafe has posted a questionable message on its signboard.
One Twitter user shared a photo of the sign from March 2018 with another joke that comes off as misogynistic.
It read: “Arguing with a woman is like reading the software license agreement. In the end you just have to ignore everything and click ‘I agree.’”
Eiffel en Eden couldn’t be reached for comment because the business removed its Facebook page.
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