Poster hanging at restaurant called offensive by some
KATY, TX (KTRK) -- A poster on the wall at a barbecue restaurant in Katy has gone largely unnoticed for nearly 30 years, but now it's causing an uproar among those who say its message is offensive.
The owner of this restaurant told me his phone's been ringing off the hook with complaints since last night. That's when he says word about his poster began spreading online.
On a photo wall tucked under some old caps at Nonmacher's Barbecue in Katy sits the poster that's causing quite a stir.
Customer Ayman Wafai said, "You know it's 2011, looking at it now, I see nothing really more than a display of racism and bigotry."
Wafai says he came to eat at the Mason Road restaurant this week. He says he was disturbed by the lynching scene in the poster. It shows two dozen men toting weapons, posing under a man tied to a noose, and its caption reads "Let's play cowboys and Iranians."
"I don't think something like this should really be accepted by any community," Wafai said.
Now some are calling the poster offensive. But the barbecue shop's owner, John Nonmacher, told me it's been on the wall here for 30 years.
"Nobody's ever found it offensive before," he said.
Nonmacher calls the photo an antique. He claims it's a reenactment made by some Houstonians back in 1979 who were speaking out against the Iran hostage crisis -- a time when more than 50 Americans were held captive by Iranians for 444 days.
Nonmacher says he's surprised by the public fuss over it now.
"I laughed and I'm still laughing," he said. "I mean, they don't understand what it is. They don't care to understand, and somebody's taking it upon themselves to campaign and crusade."
Customers like Wafai, who describes himself as Middle Eastern, says the problem is, times have changed.
"Listen, if this was another race, if we were looking at a picture of an African American, or Asian American, Native American, even, this would be a very, very huge deal," Wafai said.
Right now many people are asking Nonmacher to remove to poster.
His message to those folks is, "It's my choice to have it up. It's your choice to go where you want to go. But I'm not going to take it down."
Nonmacher told me many of the people complaining right now have never been to the restaurant to eat.
katy, local, demond fernandez
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