Pizza shop draws anger over slur employee used
A pizzeria in Woodside has over 1,000 Facebook comments after an employee made a slur-filled post about boastfully refusing to wear a mask to work.
The comments featured the slur "retard" and were made on a private Facebook account of Luigi's Pizza employee Matthew Crompton, on Monday.
Later that night, Luigi's Pizza owner Jeremy Crompton took to his restaurant's public Facebook page to post an apology for the insensitive language his employee/younger brother used.
The pizza owner, who has a child with special needs, said he understands the R-word is offensive. Yet Jeremy agrees with his brother that wearing a face covering isn't a smart idea for food-prep workers.
“He told them the truth. He just didn't do it with any kind of finesse," he said.
The owner of the pizza shop said his business is very sanitary and he and his employees wear gloves and “wash our hands literally about 100 times a day,” because they’re constantly touching items like money.
Jeremy isn’t a fan of restaurant workers wearing face coverings because he said it’s counterproductive and will put more customers at risk for cross-contamination.
"I've got to put the mask on. Then the mask starts to move; or because I'm wearing glasses, it starts to fog up my glasses, so I've gotta adjust the mask," he said. "Now my hand is dirty because I've been touching something that is guaranteed to have my sweat on it."
New mask rules
Gov. John Carney issued the 13th modification to his State of Emergency declaration on April 25.
It required Delawareans to wear face coverings in public settings, including grocery stores, convenience stores, pharmacies, doctor's offices, and on public transportation, which began today.
Those guideline are different for businesses that are open to the public, since employees there aren't required to wear face coverings until 8 a.m. on Friday, May 1, according to governor.delaware.gov.
Carney is specifically encouraging residents to use cloth face coverings and reserve medical-grade masks for workers in health care and first responders. Medical-grade masks include N95, KN95, surgical, or other masks that would be appropriate in a health-care setting.
A cloth face covering is defined as one using a “material that covers the nose and mouth. It can be secured to the head with ties or straps or simply wrapped around the lower face,” according to coronavirus.governor.gov.
“It can be made of a variety of materials, such as cotton, silk, or linen. Research has shown that certain more densely-woven fabrics may be more effective.
“A cloth face covering may be factory-made or sewn by hand, or can be improvised from household items such as scarfs, T-shirts, sweatshirts, or towels,” the statement added.
Pizza owner will comply
The owner of Luigi's Pizza said he wasn't aware face coverings would be mandatory this Friday for businesses open to the public.
Although he doesn’t agree with the new policy, he said “I don't have a choice. I have to follow the law and, of course I will, I always have.”
Believes masks will backfire
A number of comments on the restaurant’s Facebook page are negative, with some falsely claiming the shop has gone against the governor’s orders, and with others claiming Jeremy’s apology was weak.
“We shouldn't be hurt by words. I gave an apology and it's true. I'm the captain of this ship. I take the flack for anybody on my team that says something wrong,” the restaurant owner said.
Jeremy said he’s gotten some calls today from customers who support him. But he’s received way more “prank calls” than positive calls ones, he added.
The restaurant owner said he was disappointed by “cancel culture already rearing its head,” as some people have decided they’ll no longer give him business, because they wrongfully assumed he used the slur, and not his brother.
“My landlord called me this morning because he was worried,” he added.
Jeremy said he foresees face coverings setting the country back in the long run.
“I believe we're going to see a spike in the coronavirus in the fall, just because we did the social distancing stuff now,” he said. “We stopped our herd immunity from taking place, or at least we slowed it down. We stretched out this crisis longer than it needs to be.”
The owner of Luigi’s Pizza said the fallout over the last 24 hours has less to do with his brother’s comments about not wearing a mask, and more to do with his sibling using the wrong word.
“There are people out there who want to say I should go out and just fire Matt because of his personal Facebook post. I don't think that's a fair way to go about it,” he said. “Calling people retards isn't a good idea. But it at least gets your point across, I think.”