The owner of a popular Italian restaurant on Long Island is facing backlash after making incendiary comments about protesters during a Facebook Live video that went viral.
Luigi Petrone, the owner of Tutto Pazzo in Huntington Village, received the harsh criticism after he posted a video of a group protesting the death of George Floyd, calling them names and mocking them.
“There’s a bunch of kids … little punks,” he said. “(They) look like little animals … little savages.”
Petrone went on to say that “we were ready, we don’t joke around. They know if they come into Huntington, they’re going to have a problem…all of them."
“They came in, and they came out. A bunch of them saw us with a bunch of watermelons we were going to throw at them,” he continued. “All the watermelons. You can’t mess with us people in Huntington.”
After posting the video - which also included a jab at neighboring Huntington Station - Petrone received harsh backlash on social media, prompting him to take the video down and issue an apology that has since been deleted.
Huntington Town Supervisor Chad Lupinacci said that around 100 residents were involved in the protest, making their way to Huntington Town Hall and kneeling on Veterans Plaza around the flag mole in a moment of silence for Floyd.
“There's no place for racism in the Town of Huntington or anywhere in our nation,” he said. “Yesterday’s comments, from one individual, are not reflective of the sentiments of the vast majority of residents and business owners across the Town of Huntington.
“We should all respect the rights of one another, come together to heal from this national tragedy, and not give oxygen to the words of those who fuel division and spread hate.”
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