Yelp Suspends Reviews for Tiverton’s Atlantic Sports Bar and Restaurant Following Anti-Semitic Post
The online review app and website Yelp has suspended reviews for the Atlantic Sports Bar and Restaurant in Tiverton, Rhode Island after the restaurant’s page on the platform was flooded with negative reviews following its posting of an anti-Semitic meme on the restaurant Facebook page.
Yelp is investigating the reviews and apparently may be removing reviews based solely on the news reports about the meme.
“While racism has no place on Yelp and we unequivocally reject racism or discrimination in any form, all reviews on Yelp must reflect an actual first-hand consumer experience (even if that means disabling the ability for users to express points of view we might agree with),” Yelp stated.
WBSM was the first to report on the meme, which featured a photo of Holocaust victim Anne Frank with the caption, “It’s hotter than an oven out there…and I should know.”
WBSM's Saturday afternoon host Jessica Machado saw the original posting when it first occurred on Friday, July 22 and called the restaurant to inquire about it, when owner Messias Dias told her he “Googled it and found it funny.” He later admitted to not knowing who Anne Frank was.
The restaurant posted an apology to its Facebook page on Monday; the page was then taken down later that day. It had been inundated with negative reviews in relation to the posting and the subsequent apology.
On Wednesday, Yelp suspended the ability to review Atlantic Sports Bar and Restaurant on its platform.
“This business is being monitored by Yelp's Support team for content related to media reports,” it states at the top of the restaurant’s page on the platform.
In the review portion of the page, a message from Yelp appears over the reviews with the title “Public Attention Alert,” followed by this statement:
“This business recently received increased public attention resulting in an influx of people posting their views to this page, so we have temporarily disabled the ability to post here as we work to investigate the content. While racism has no place on Yelp and we unequivocally reject racism or discrimination in any form, all reviews on Yelp must reflect an actual first-hand consumer experience (even if that means disabling the ability for users to express points of view we might agree with). Learn more on Yelp Support.
If you’re here to leave a review based on a first-hand experience with the business, please check back at a later date.”
The restaurant has remained open amid the controversy and Scott Berstein posted on Facebook at 6:21 p.m. Wednesday that there were “nearly two dozen cars in the sizable parking lot,” accompanied by a photo he said was taken that day of multiple cars outside the restaurant.
“As I feared, even bad publicity is good for business,” Berstein wrote. “These people obviously have no problem supporting a man who shared a meme about Anne Frank and ovens. I’m disappointed, to say the least.”