Vancouver restaurant manager loses his job after refusing to serve man in Trump hat
Amidst the polarisation and political turmoil in the United States, food and restaurants have become a bit of a weird battleground for some of the most keenly-felt political divisions.
It seems we literally can't go a week without a person of colour catching some unwanted heat in some of our favourite food establishments, and between Supreme Court rulings and Donald Trump's ill-fated lunch with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, food has been a big part of the news over the past year, hasn't it?
Here we go again, then: you might remember the Make America Great Again hat. A red baseball cap which attempted to distill decades of social suffering and inequality into a glib marketing slogan (succeeding in depressing fashion) it's perhaps the quintessential American product out there, if you think about it.
Nowadays, from your next door neighbour to people like Kanye West, it's an easy way to identify a Trump supporter, and one restaurant manager has lost his job after refusing to serve a man wearing one of these hats at his restaurant. Weirdly enough, this story didn't occur in the United States, but rather several miles north in Canada.
Darin Hodge, manager at the Teahouse in Stanley Park, Vancouver, was going about his day when he came across a patron at his place of employment wearing one of these aforementioned red hats.
With President Trump having come in for some heavy criticism in some quarters following the escalation of a trade war with China alongside the practice of separating migrant children from their parents at the American border, you can understand Hodge's unhappiness at seeing the hat at his place of work.
So, he asked the customer to take off the hat. But the Sequoia Company of Restaurants (under which is Hodge's place of employment) have said in an email that the company “does not support intolerance of any kind” and fired Hodge for his decision. Following from that, the Sequoia Company said they "cannot discriminate against someone based on their support for the current administration in the United States or any other bona fide political party."
This is fair enough, but recounting the events later on, Hodge himself said he had "no regrets" about his actions that day. "As a person with a strong moral backbone, I had to take a stand against this guest's choice of headwear while in my former place of work," he said to Canadian news outlets following his firing. "The MAGA hat has come to symbolize racism, bigotry, Islamophobia, misogyny, white supremacy, homophobia."
Online, Darin Hodge's actions are - surprise surprise - splitting the internet community right down the middle. Some are of the opinion that refusing to serve a man simply because of his political beliefs is a little sanctimonious, to say the least:
But then, you have the people who commend Hodge for sticking to his beliefs when it would be easy to comply with something he fundamentally didn't believe in:
Weird, isn't it? That we can have so many political opinions and differences all spreading from one guy being asked to remove a hat.