TIVERTON, R.I. (WPRI) — A restaurant in Rhode Island continues to receive backlash after posting an offensive meme on social media last week.
The Atlantic Sports Bar and Restaurant in Tiverton has received sharp criticism since Friday, when a photo of Holocaust victim Anne Frank appeared on its Facebook account. The photo contained a caption reading, “It’s hotter than an oven out there … and I should know!” as first reported by Jessica Machado at WBSM Radio.
Machado said she called the restaurant and spoke with the owner, who allegedly told her he “Googled it” and posted it because he “thought it was funny,” according to Machado.
The post was later deleted, though screengrabs of the restaurant’s Facebook page are still circulating online.
In its place, the restaurant posted a lengthy apology and claimed there was “no excuse” for the post, as reported by The Boston Globe.
The Atlantic’s Facebook page has since been deleted entirely.
Within hours of posting the meme, the Atlantic also began receiving negative reviews on Yelp.
“This restaurant posted an offensive, distasteful and antisemitic meme recently, making light of the horrors of the Holocaust,” wrote one reviewer, who left a one-star rating.
“Your antisemitic remark is absolutely disgusting,” another Yelp user said.
As a result of increased activity on the restaurant’s Yelp page, the platform temporarily disabled comments on Wednesday afternoon.
In an alert to users, Yelp said it would be suspending reviews as they investigate the content that has caused “increased public attention.”
“While racism has no place on Yelp and we unequivocally reject racism or discrimination in any form, all reviews on Yelp must reflect an actual first-hand consumer experience (even if that means disabling the ability for users to express points of view we might agree with),” reads an alert that appears on the Atlantic’s Yelp page.
WPRI has reached out to the Atlantic for comment, but had not yet heard back as of Thursday.
Frank, a 15-year-old Jewish girl, died during the Holocaust. She and her family were captured by the Nazis after hiding inside an attic during the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands for more than two years. Frank’s diary, which she kept while in hiding, has since been published in a number of languages, including the English version, “Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl.”