A Portland woman ignited a social media fire this week over a confrontation with a restaurant diner she says was wearing a shirt with a Nazi symbol.
As Raw Story first reported, on March 13, Deavon Snoke was dining at Kachka—a Russian restaurant owned by Bonnie Frumkin Morales, who is Jewish and whose family fled the Holocaust, and her husband Israel Morales, who is Mexican—when she spotted a man sporting a "Luftwaffe" t-shirt.
"Luftwaffe" is a German term that translates to "air force." It is also the name of the Nazi air force founded by Adolf Hitler in 1935.
In a Facebook post, Snoke reportedly wrote that she was asked to leave Kachka after "calling this Nazi out."
The post was rapidly shared, sparking outrage.
Some vowed to avoid the restaurant, claiming it is now "a dangerous place." Though some posts have since been deleted as others chimed in to point out the ridiculousness in claiming that minority business owners—one of whom has family that escaped the Holocaust—could be Nazi sympathizers.
"You should probably ask why they chose the name Kachka and the story behind it before you start calling them Nazi sympathizers," Twitter users Damian Magista wrote, "which they most definitely are not."
"Seriously," another Twitter user, Ridgy Apologist writes, "do some critical thinking about this Kachka thing. Please."
"Kachka" translates to "duck" in the Belarusian language. According to Morales, the name of the restaurant refers to a story involving her grandmother fleeing the German occupation of Belarus.
In response, the Moraleses posted a message on the restaurant's Facebook page, saying: "As the owners of Kachka, we feel the need to address a misunderstanding regarding an incident that occurred between customers in our restaurant, and the subsequent inaccurate and libelous comments on social media."
"It is our understanding that a customer dining at Kachka was wearing a t-shirt with symbolism on it that another group found to be offensive," the post goes on. "After a brief exchange of words, the group left the restaurant on its own accord and was not asked to leave."
The owners also point out that they are firmly opposed to hate groups, and work to promote tolerance and diversity.
"These inaccurate social media comments are deeply troubling to our family as survivors of such hate and against everything we stand for," the post ends.
Israel Morales told Raw Story that he was notified about the "Nazi propaganda shirt," and that tensions rose while he was Googling the shirt's meaning.
"[Snoke] stood up and confronted the man wearing the shirt—which is when I stepped in," Morales told Raw Story. "I felt this could become a dangerous situation and my job as a business owner is to keep my customers safe. I walked up to them and barely got two words out before she stormed out."
Snoke could not be reached for comment about the incident, but Morales told Raw Story, "The worst thing is that all this misinformation could actually cause discriminatory groups to think that Kachka is some sort of safe haven for them, which it most certainly is not."