An Orange County bar went hard in the wrong direction with its Cinco de Mayo celebration on Friday, featuring an inflatable border wall for patrons to climb, along with fake “green cards” offering free drinks to anyone who made it to the top. Almost makes you pine for the days when it was just bros wearing sombreros and fake mustaches, but don’t worry, there was plenty of that, too.
Hennessey’s Tavern went from a popular Dana Point watering hole to a flashpoint of controversy after its owner, Paul Hennessey, decided to incorporate Trump’s much-loathed border wall into the day’s festivities.
According to the Los Angeles Times, the wall climb and “Permanent Drinking Card,” which featured an illustration of a Mexican woman named Isabel Orlando, were not gross attempts to capitalize on our current political disasters, but a means fostering dialogue. Mmmk:
“It was our way of protesting the fact that Trump wants to spend billions of dollars to build a wall that is pretty useless,” Hennessey said Saturday. “I guess the way it was presented, some people took it a different way,” he concluded.
He also posted a statement to Facebook on Friday night:
I would like to thank everyone for your comments about our climbing wall. Our intentions were to create a dialogue and show how ridiculous that it is to spend tens of millions of dollars to build a wall and even infer that Mexico foot some or the entire bill and have their citizens build it.
This event obviously struck a chord with many of you out there and you and a number of you did not understand our intent. I encourage all of you to take the time that you have spent posting on social media to spend an equal or greater amount of time writing your congressman or the President himself to express your concerns just as I have.
Thank you for your comments and let’s stop this wall from being built.
That’s a pretty good one-two punch right there: First shift blame to your critics for “just not getting it,” then accuse them of failing to use their time constructively. Based on the responses to the post, it seems like that tactic wasn’t especially well received. As one person wrote,
Oh no, we understood it completely. You expect us to believe that some lowbrow dive bar was trying to pull a meta modest proposalesque stunt to highlight the flaws in our administration? Haha. No. This is a transparent attempt to cover up a horrible, tactless, racist event. Just apologize, admit you were in the wrong. All this does is make you look much much worse. You’ve been caught and exposed, stop trying to get it of it, we see what you’re trying to do.
Laycee Barragato Gibson, who first drew attention to the event when she wrote about it on Facebook, told the OC Weekly:
I grew up in South Orange County and went to school at Dana Hills High School. Casual and blatant racism towards the Latinx community has always been a problem in this area. To be honest, it took me moving to Los Angeles for college to fully realize it. Now I refuse to be a silent bystander.
This stunt was disgusting and hurtful. People are being deported and families are being broken up. I know this was meant to be a joke, but so many of us are not laughing.
Meanwhile, it appears that Trump’s plans for his actual border wall are falling apart before his little rat eyes. Remember when things were going better for him? Before he was president? When he could just eat his nasty taco bowl in his gaudy tower without getting protested out of the city? Simpler times.