Charlotte restaurant owner faces backlash over “Finish the Wall” sign

Photo of restaurant owner at rally causes backlash

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - A restaurant owner is getting backlash after a photo was snapped of him at a Trump rally in Charlotte.

A Charlotte Business Journal photographer, Grant Baldwin, snapped a photo of George Prisco holding a sign that read, “Finish the Wall.” Now hundreds of social media users say they’ll boycott his business.

“I want [immigrants] coming,” Prisco says. “I want them coming legally.”

Now, hundreds are responding to the photo of him posed next to the three-word phrase, on social media.

“Anybody making that statement has to be aware of how that’s going to affect certain people who hear it,” immigrant advocate Kelly Carter says. “And could be hurtful, and damaging, and stereotyping.”

Carter is one of hundreds on social media sharing a post of the photo, and one of several writing a bad review for Prisco’s restaurant – Krazy Fish in Plaza Midwood.

“Someone was caught doing something racist,” she says. “And they need to be held accountable for that, publicly.”

Prisco says he’s not against immigration, and that his parents were Italian immigrants.

“I just want people to come here legally,” he says.

Sitting with his kitchen manager Florena Mendez in his restaurant’s dining room, he tells WBTV, he sees the post’s attention as an opportunity for conversation.

“I don’t look at it as a bad thing,” he says. “I don’t look at it as a good thing, but I mean, it needs to be spoken about.”

Monday, his restaurant is regularly closed, but he brought a group of staff members by. He says he’s proud of his employee diversity. He also sees the hundreds of customers online, promising to boycott.

“They’re not boycotting me,” he says. “They’re boycotting the staff that we have here.”

For people like Carter, it’s not enough.

“It’s his right to express his views,” she says. “But his views are racist and xenophobic, so people have a right to react to that, and not spend their money there.”

The restaurant will open Tuesday, as regularly scheduled.

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