A Dayton-area restaurateur says people have misinterpreted the intention of a Facebook post in which a brown “Elf on the Shelf” doll is referred to as an “undocumented munchkin.”
“It was all in good fun, and I guess some people have taken it the wrong way,” Spinoza's Pizza & Salads owner Glen Brailey said of the public response to a post to his restaurant’s Facebook page that has been removed.
The restaurant is located in the Mall at Fairfield Commons in Beavercreek.
Local artist Sandy Bashaw took a screen shot of the original post and shared it to her page. That post has been shared numerous times.
Flashing on the word “undocumented,” several people have called Brailey a racist and said they would boycott his restaurant because of the“Ezzo on the Shelf” post. Hundreds of comments have been left on Facebook posts including Bashaw’s and subsequent shares of that post. Bashaw’s post has been shared more than 40 times so far.
A sampling of the comments include:
“Wow. Not eating there again.”
“Oh (expletive). I liked the food. But never again.”
“If you live in the Dayton Ohio area please show Spinoza's that delving into politics is a stupid thing to do for a business.”
“At least Spinoza's had the good sense to take this offensive post down. But it doesn't change the fact it was put there to start with. Might want to go somewhere else for music and pizza.”
The name “Ezzo” is a variation of the Italian name “Izzo,” according to Ancestry.com.
Contacted Monday, Brailey said he is neither racist nor sexist.
He said the use of the word “undocumented” may have been a poor choice, but was not meant to offend Mexicans or anyone else.
People’s tendency to jump to conclusions makes it difficult to communicate, he said.
“I am not sure what elf is documented. It was posted in humor,” Brailey said. “We’ve got real issues in this country. We’ve got to solve the problems of immigration and it is not with any damn wall. If you can’t even make a joke like that with an elf, we’ve got a problem.”
Brailey said some have incorrectly read ill-intentions.
The elf was pictured on a bar tap because the character is mischievous and Spinoza's restaurant has a bar, he said.
Brailey said the doll belongs to an employee’s 7-year-old son, and he had planned to use it to make funny “Elf on the Shelf” posts around his bar and restaurant for the holidays.
He said he had a professional slip with Bashaw that she discusses in her post.
“It is pretty obvious she is sore about that and wants to punish me,” Brailey said.
A message was left on Bashaw’s cell phone seeking comment.
He believes his critics are making something out of nothing.
“Perhaps they don’t understand what the Elf on the Shelf is,” he said of his critics. “It is disheartening after all the years and dedication to the arts and trying to make it a better community.”
From the book “The Elf on the Shelf: A Christmas Tradition,” the Elf on the Shelf elves are pictured doing hijinx on Facebook.
Brailey is the former owner of the now-closed Pacchia Wood Fired Pizza in the Oregon District, and served as the business district’s president for several years.
He said it is hurtful that so many have jumped to conclusions about his business, including those he has considered friends.
“You are going to trash me and the people who work here,” he said.