NM Restaurant's 'Black Olives Matter' Billboard Sparks Outrage

The controversial sign outside Paisano’s in Albuquerque, N.M.
The controversial sign outside Paisano’s in Albuquerque, N.M.

"Black Olives Matter."

That's what the sign outside Paisano's Italian restaurant in Albuquerque, N.M., proclaimed last week as it promoted its tapenade, a dish that features black olives.


Needless to say, the pun was not met with as many smiles as the restaurant might have hoped, instead, drawing huge backlash from social media, KOB reports.

According to the news station, social media users took to the restaurant's Facebook page, accusing Paisano's of trivializing the Black Lives Matter movement.

"This is [expletive] disgusting and insensitive," one commenter wrote.

Another added, "Trivializing deaths, abuse and racism, Classy."

Even the local NAACP got involved, with its president, Harold Bailey, releasing a statement saying that the sign was a "nice marketing idea" but "in bad taste," KRQE reports.

The posted sign at Paisano’s Restaurant that included the phrase ” Black Olives Matter” is a nice marketing idea. However, with all of the national uproar, demonstrations and marches, regarding the shooting of African American men and youth by police officers, the Albuquerque NAACP feels that it was in bad taste. The decision to take it down is appreciated.

Hopefully, the owners at Paisano’s will be a bit more sensitive in the future. Unjustified killing of innocent Black men is nothing to joke about. Whether it was intentional or not, it sent the wrong message to many.

I’m sure they would feel the same way if someone had an offensive marketing idea that placed Hispanics, Italians or any other ethnic group in a controversial concept.

In light of the backlash, the restaurant has taken the pun out of the sign. The owner, Rick Camuglia, said that it wasn't his intent to offend anyone.

"We put up what we thought was a cute play on words, which we do commonly here at the restaurant,” said Camuglia. “We were trying to promote our pan-seared ahi tuna with a black olive tapenade relish. And so we put, 'Black olives matter; try our tapenade.’”


The Washington Post reports, however, that it hasn't been all bad news for the restaurant, which has received some support as well in the incident. Paisano's released a statement Friday sending out a "heartfelt 'Thank you’” to supporters who have been adding black olives to every dish.

Since Wednesday, July 13th, we have been inundated with positive, supportive phone calls from the community as well as overwhelmed with business, not only from our “regulars”, but from so many new customers who came from Albuquerque, surrounding cities, and even neighboring States simply to support us.

A heartfelt “Thank You” to you from our Crew, some of whom were moved to tears because of your kind words and outpouring of support.

Many nowadays would contend that society has changed for the worse, but our experience this week has proven the opposite. We have encountered so many quality people of character; salt of the earth and the bedrock of America. Awesome.

Many have shown a unique way to show solidarity. I can’t count the number of customer’s orders who’ve included adding Black Olives to every dish ordered. Pizzas, Sandwiches and pasta dishes with “double Black Olives Please!” all day long. So much that we almost ran out and ordered more.

We have served Albuquerque for over 40 years and look forward to the next 40.

According to KOB, Camuglia said that he did not regret the punny sign and does not feel any need to apologize to those offended.


"I think it shows an interesting state of affairs of where our country is that people, first of all, can be offended by a statement about a vegetable. Black olives matter, and it does matter in our tapenade," he added.