UPDATE WITH APOLOGY BELOW.
WEDNESDAY UPDATE : An apologetic "Thank You Fort Worth" happy hour is set for Saturday.
When, oh when, will people learn? You need to pause and think before posting every thought that pops into your head onto Facebook.
On Monday afternoon, a controversy exploded online, when the recently opened Zio Carlo Magnolia Brew Pub posted what seemed like a bitter indictment of President Obama and his followers on its Facebook page: I would prefer not have spoiled Obama kids around me.
Although the specific author of the posting is not clear, a later comment from Zio Carlo in the same thread that reads I was born in Italy suggests it was written by Zio Carlo owner Carlo Galotto.
The post was subsequently removed, but this screen shot taken by one angry patron who claimed he would never return to the place illustrates the instantaneous blowback Zio Carlo received. The vast majority of the nearly hundred 100 comments were negative.
Slam our president on your Facebook page and watch your business fold, wrote one patron. Fort Worth City Council member Joel Burns even chimed in to the argument, writing: Carlo, I truly ached reading this. (Naturally, three people clicked like. There's always three on Facebook.)
In one of his follow-up comments, most of which are riddled with typos and hard-to-follow logic, Galotto insisted that he was not a Republican, and instead claimed that he was a disenchanted former Obama supporter. But clearly the damage had been done, especially for a business thats set up shop in the Fairmount district, whats widely regarded as the most left-leaning neighborhood in Fort Worth. Despite some pleas from fans of the brewpub, urging him to stop posting on his company's Facebook page, he continued to antagonize those he had offended, at one point writing: "So please, I am encouraging you give me your best "F--- You". (That's word-for-word, except he didn't dash out the f-word.) This came after responding to one commenter by saying: "I wil loose you, and maybe other 1,000 customers other than you. Buta I do not care."
At least a dozen commenters said they wouldnt again patronize the place, and news of the imbroglio quickly spread on social media outlets.
The inevitable mea culpa arrived in the form of yet another Facebook status update, posted on Tuesday morning:
1st) To all that I offended, I do apologize
2nd) Everyone is welcome
3rd) This was a sad example of too much beer while on my computer
That last one, especially, is a motto to live by. Were reaching out to Galotto to see if he has any further comment. In the meanwhile, it will be interesting to see if this becomes a black mark against a new business that is still struggling to find its sea legs.
Oh, and to the rest of those Republican-voting business owners out there, take note: You may think Fort Worth is a conservative place, but as a general rule, folks who patronize nouveau brew pubs in gentrifying neighborhoods definitely bleed blue.
Update 1: We called Zio Carlo, and though we didn't reach Carlo himself, the gentleman who answered the phone said that some sort of statement may be issued later today. The man otherwise had no official comment.
Just after 3 p.m. Tuesday, after Carlo Galotto's detractors and defenders continued their heated debated on the Zio Carlo Facebook page, Galotto himself posted this apology:
I apologize to all my friends and customers.
Getting this business off the ground has been very difficult, and there have been many challenges. The last few days have been difficult and the pressure got to me. I said many things I regret, and wish I could un-say them.
I value all of my customers and need your business, and will do everything I can to keep you. I want to grow and succeed. I am truly very sorry for the way I acted and hope you will forgive me and support me. I sincerely mean this. Carlo Galotto
And in the tradition of many a public relations mea culpa, we just got word that Galotto will be hosting a Thank You Fort Worth Happy Hour on Saturday, Dec. 10 from 5 -7 p.m.
To quote the press release, its an effort to regain the trust and loyalty of his customers and to showcase what a neighborhood brew pub is all about. There will be free pizza, live music by Scott Vernon and members of the Social Media Club Fort Worth in attendance.
According to the statement, a portion of bar sales during the Happy Hour will go toward Fort Worth South.