Deli owner under fire for offering free side dish to anyone who says 'send her back' while ordering

The owner of Canesa's Brooklyn Heros in Clayton, Calif., is under fire after sharing on Facebook a promotion that offered a free side to anyone who said "send her back" while ordering. (Photo: Google)

The owner of a small California deli created controversy when he shared on Facebook a promotion that promised a free side to anyone who said the said, "send her back" while placing an order. The chant — which broke out during President Donald Trump's campaign rally in Greenville, North Carolina, last week — targeted Rep. Ilhan Omar and was deemed racist by many critics. Even some of the president's most loyal supporters believe it crossed a line.

John Canesa, the owner of Canesa's Brooklyn Heros in Clayton, Calif., wrote in his since-deleted Facebook post that the meatballs were made of beef "[in case] we offend any of our overly sensitive pork haters," possibly mocking Muslims or other religious groups that do not eat pork.

The post quickly drew backlash, and social media users proceeded to leave negative reviews on both the deli's Facebook and Yelp page, which has since temporarily disabled the posting of reviews.

In screenshots of the post, shared by the mayor of Clayton, Tuija Catalano, one person commented, "It is very disappointing to see this racism in our own community." Canesa responded to the commenter, saying that he had already given away 65 free sides.

"Come and get it we are about to sell out," Canesa wrote. "I have to post more often!"

The mayor posted on Facebook: "I am very saddened to have seen a FB post by the owner of local deli this morning. We all have rights to our own political, religious, and other opinions. We all have a right to post about them too. However, there is no place in our community for hatred and bigotry. When hateful comments are being promoted as part of a local business, they reflect on our community's reputation. As an elected official, who is also a woman and foreign-born, I personally find a comment about sending anyone back over their political opinions unacceptable."

Calls to Canesa's Brooklyn Heros went unanswered; however, Sara Zendehnam, the KTVU reporter who broke the story, shared in a tweet that she had spoken with Casena.

"He said he did a Facebook live explaining his situation after his Facebook post," Zendehnam shared on Saturday; however, Canesa's Facebook appears to have been deleted along with the video. "He said he’s a father of 3 and has been dealing with threats after his post."

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