Restaurant Ejects Diner for Tweeting While Eating - UPDATED
We spoke to Matsu by phone this afternoon. This is her version of the events that led up to her ejection.
My friend and I went to BRC and they were closing after we had a beer, so we went to Down House after. I'd been there once before and it was a cool place. Probably within a few minutes of sitting down, we see a guy behind the bar talking to two other guys -- all three work there.
The guy behind the bar -- and I wasn't exactly clear on what he was saying -- was saying something derogatory about Bobby [Heugel]. I don't think a place like Down House would be up and running without a guy like Bobby Heugel. Here's a guy making things in beakers and flasks and he's making fun of Bobby. He looked like he was about 16, so I called him a twerp [on Twitter].
I ended up having a great conversation with the guy behind the bar. We were having a great time, had another beer. Thirty minutes later, we'd all engaged in conversation, the bartenders had looked at pictures on my friend's phone of her vacation, it was a dead night -- and all of a sudden the phone rings.
Jeremy picks up the phone and all I hear is, "The blonde or the brunette?" He hands me the phone and says, "It's for you." My initial thought is that it's [Chris] Cusack, the guy who owns the bar, who started following me a long time ago. He's the one that usually handles the Twitter account from what I've been aware of.
As soon as [Forrest DeSpain] got on the phone, he started yelling. He paints a different story -- that he was stern but politely asked me to apologize or leave the establishment -- but he was extremely angry from the get-go, saying that I was eavesdropping on a conversation between employees. When someone starts yelling at me, I shut down. Most of it's a blank after that. I was just thinking, "What the hell is going on? What just happened?" [DeSpain] is yelling at me and telling me I need to leave. I don't even know how long the conversation lasted. I didn't get a word in edgewise. He yelled, "You don't interrupt me."
I do remember the last thing he said was, "You need to get your ass up and leave the establishment. Your time is done there." I handed the phone back to Jeremy and said I just got kicked out.
Asked whether she agreed with being asked to leave, Matsu said that Down House was equally at fault in the situation by allowing their bartenders to speak badly about another bar owner.
"For him to say that I was eavesdropping..." she trailed off. "If you're in earshot of customers, you probably shouldn't be talking poorly about another bar. He was just being arrogant. It would be one thing if I called him a jerk or a twerp to his face and was then asked to leave the establishment."
Further, Matsu felt that the behavior on the part of Down House was hypocritical given the larger climate of negativity on Twitter -- which doesn't always come from the customers.
"There are over a dozen different chefs and owners around town that Tweet about customers or parties all the time, like, 'Oh, that dumbass ordered a cheeseburger without cheese.' Or they talk about rowdy people in the dining room, and those people could be reading the Tweets."
"We all Tweet stuff all the time when we're in restaurants. It's so innocent compared to things I've said before. It wasn't even something malicious. If someone Tweets that the food is awful, they're talking about the person in the kitchen. Is what I said really any different?"
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