CLEVELAND - The owner of an Italian restaurant that was set to open in Ohio City this week is apologizing for an offensive social media post he says was made by a friend handling his restaurant’s social media accounts.
The comment – which included a derogatory word aimed at women – was posted from Ciao Bistro owner Shawn Taylor's personal account under the comments section of a Cleveland Scene Magazine Facebook post featuring an article about the new restaurant.
The offensive comment was made in reply to a negative comment about the restaurant, and it quickly went viral.
Facebook users posted responses including “Can you order anything without divisive political misogyny?,” “Definitely not giving this guy my business," and "Ciao is another way to say goodbye, right? How appropriate."
Taylor maintains the offensive post wasn't made by him.
“I want people to understand this isn't from me. I apologize for everything and I'm going to face it dead on,” Taylor said. “I gave somebody all my Facebook accounts and the business accounts for the [restaurant] page.”
Taylor says the comment was mistakenly posted by an out-of-state friend who was logged into Taylor's personal Facebook account. Taylor said he gave the friend online access to his accounts so the friend could manage the restaurant's social media pages while Taylor focused on food.
“I called him up and said, ‘What's going on, what happened here?’ and he said, ‘Shawn I messed up, I don't know what happened. I tried to fix it. I don't know,” Taylor said. “He said, ‘Shawn I was texting and I don't know, somehow, some way it ended up on the magazine post.’ And my words to him I said, ‘We'll figure it out.’”
Taylor said he has fired the friend.
Taylor posted an apology on Facebook stating “I cannot begin to express how embarrassed and apologetic I am for the terrible post… I cannot answer regarding their intentions, but I can reassure you that language or use of terminology is not one that I support nor believe in. I am terribly sorry for all that were offended by what was said under my name, but I can assure you that was not me…”
Despite posting the apology, Taylor said his family has received threats. He said since deleted his personal and the restaurant’s social media pages.
Taylor said he’s still planning to open the restaurant, which has been a dream of his for years.
“I'm not going to go down without fighting back. The only thing I can do is I can prove who I am in the community,” he said. “Give me a chance because I will make it right, that's what I plan to do.”