Paradis Books & Bread Meal by Fox News’ Gianno Caldwell sparks debate
On Saturday, Fox News analyst Gianno Caldwell went to Paradis Books & Bread for breakfast in Miami. The meal grew into national news, leading to the restaurant closing a week early for a planned “winter break”, citing a spate of online hate and harassment.
“I can’t believe what just happened. I was meeting friends for breakfast at Paradis Books and Bread in North Miami and while we were discussing politics the owner told us that we were not welcome there because we’re not politically affiliated. Outrageous,” Caldwell tweeted on Saturday.
The tweet had more than 2 million views and sparked conversation about the state of our political division.
Fox News analyst Gianno Caldwell dines at Paradis Books & Bread. What happened?
Caldwell reiterated during a Fox News segment that he was talking politics at the coffee shop and was asked to leave. He called the incident “troubling”.
“There’s a target on the back of people who happen to be black, who happen to be conservative,” Caldwell said.
For its part, the cafe said via its Instagram account: “A group of people came in, ordered their food, sat in the inside corner and talked quite loudly for over an hour. Much of what they discussed was very disturbing. especially when they spoke of women in demeaning terms and used eugenic arguments around their thoughts on Roe v. Wade around… When it was clear that they had finished their meal, we told them that our views did not agree and that the language they were using was undesirable in our space.”
When the story went viral, the cafe said it “received some really alarming online messages and calls on our home phones that ultimately prompted us to take our winter break out of caution for ourselves and our community.” ”
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This isn’t the first time politics has affected food
While Caldwell’s experience made headlines, this isn’t the first time restaurant operators or owners have considered a restaurant’s politics when deciding whether or not to serve them.
In 2018, Stephanie Wilkinson, the owner of a small restaurant called Red Hen in Virginia, also broke the news that she had kicked then-White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders out of her restaurant.
“When I woke up the next morning, social media was on fire. The incident had gone from a Facebook post to a tagged tweet to breaking news nationwide with the swish of a lighter to a flame,” she said.
The news continued. But in 2019, in an editorial published in The Washington Post, she said, “After nearly a year, I’m pleased to say business is still going strong. Better than good, actually.”
The state of the political division in America
A 2019 Public Agenda/USA TODAY/Ipsos poll found that more than nine in 10 people — about as close to unanimity as a national poll typically gets — said it was important that the United States try to to reduce this gap.
But in December, a declining proportion of Americans said it was “very important” to narrow the divide or find better ways to understand people whose political affiliations differ from their own. It’s a striking contrast to previous research and a nod to the politically polarized country that America has become.
Charles Campbell, a landscape gardener who lives in suburban New Orleans and took part in the poll, said he doesn’t necessarily think America is more divided today than it was 10 or 20 years ago — Americans are just aware of divisions and differing opinions more conscious and beliefs due to social media.
Much of the reaction, debate, and commentary on Caldwell’s experience took place on Twitter.
“In terms of communication, we’re more connected now, but we’re divided because we’re seeing more (what people are thinking),” Campbell, 42, said in December.
Another survey respondent, Lynne Richardson of Oakland, New Jersey, said the media has helped fuel the country’s deepening divisions. But she sees an advantage in trying to understand Americans who have different beliefs and opinions than hers.
“I will not give up a friendship with someone who is generous, kind and loyal just because they have different political beliefs,” she said. “That really cuts off your nose to annoy your face.”
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Featuring: Lindsay Schnell, William Cummings, USA TODAY