Popular Pittsburgh Nightclub Owners Protest Stay-at-Home Order, Outed as...Just Really Stupid White People

Illustration for article titled Popular Pittsburgh Nightclub Owners Protest Stay-at-Home Order, Outed as...Just Really Stupid White People
Screenshot: Shane Dunlap (Twitter)

An understandable but deeply misguided take on the armed (and mostly white) idiots in the streets protesting stay-at-home orders is that they’ll just spread the coronavirus to each other, like a regifted MAGA fruitcake. Unfortunately, all that does is make everyone else more vulnerable, too.


But, there is actually a form of social Darwinism happening here, just as it happened in Charlottesville and anywhere else white people publicly congregate to celebrate thinly veiled racial grievance.

Paul and Lisa Martinez are the owners of Cavo (perhaps the most popular nightclub in Pittsburgh) and Cake (a venue frequently used for LGBTQ events). On Monday, the Martinezes—or is it Martini?—thought it wise to grab their AR-15s, dress as Disney characters in “Bane...but also a Founding Father” cosplay, and post up outside of the city county building. They looked equal parts dumb and dangerous, and the video footage of them went viral. But since they had masks obscuring their faces—a point I’ll come back to in like, 10 seconds—you couldn’t tell who they were.

Until Paul “The Mastermind” Martinez went on Facebook and outed himself. And now, I have questions!

“Why wear masks if you planned on revealing yourselves anyway?”

To protect ourselves from the coronavirus.

“But isn’t protecting yourself and others from the coronavirus the point of the...”

I think I’m done with questions now.

With everything shut down, I imagine they’re struggling, just like most everyone else. But when this eventually ends, people would have still frequented their venues. All they had to do was literally just sit home and eat their food. Now, they will lose customers. Some DJs, servers, bartenders, and bouncers will refuse to work there. And they’ll always have the stench of white supremacist stupidity associated with their businesses. As small as the profit margins are at most clubs and restaurants, this could end them.


And yeah, I’m aware that Martinez is Mexican-American—which he believes disqualifies him from being a white supremacist. But Mexican is a nationality, Mexicans can be white and the political sensibility that would compel him to attempt to intimidate a virus with bullets comes from and exists in the worst of white people. I’m sorry, Paul, but you’re whitewhitewhitewhitewhitewhitewhite, so embrace it. Who knows? Maybe there’s a Green Book ... but for nitwits you can list your clubs on now too.

Damon Young is the editor-in-chief of VSB, a contributing opinion writer for The New York Times, and the author of What Doesn't Kill You Makes You Blacker (Ecco/HarperCollins)



I have a hunch these protests would go just a touch differently if the protestors were a bunch of black folks wearing masks and carrying automatic weapons.