UPDATED: Roots Bistro Makes Tasteless Domestic Violence Joke on Marquee to Sell Beer

Categories: News

rootsviolence.jpg
Photo by @swilson101
Domestic violence: hilarious and a great way to sell beer, according to Roots Bistro.
UPDATED: The sign outside Roots Bistro today, Monday, carries the following apology: "Sorry a million times over, Houston." See next page for more.

The last time anyone found a domestic violence joke funny was during an episode of The Honeymooners, and those were dark times, America. However, one Houston restaurant still finds the topic hilarious nearly 60 years later.

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Roots Bistro, a vegetarian-friendly restaurant on Lower Westheimer, ran the following sign on its marquee this weekend: "Beer should be like violence: domestic." Although a manager would later claim the sign was only up for 10 minutes, it immediately sparked outrage across the Internet, on Twitter and on Facebook.

"Shame on you for that sign," wrote Elizabeth Hilts on Roots Bistro's Facebook page in only one of a flood of comments. "Shame, shame, shame."

Above her on the restaurant's Facebook page, Stephen Madden had written: "Recommendation: Take the sign down, apologize and contact HAWC for badly needed training on the horrors of domestic violence."

roots-bistro-7.8047616.131.jpg
A Roots Bistro marquee on a typical day.
When contacted about the sign and its intentions, a manager on duty who identified himself as Kenneth offered the following explanation: "That sign is not up now. It was up literally for 10 minutes and it was pulled down."

"We'll go on the Internet and look at other businesses and what they post on their signs," Kenneth said. "Another business had posted it," Kenneth continued, and the employee who put together Roots Bistro's marquee apparently took that as a cue that the message was somehow acceptable.

"Obviously no one here would condone any type of violence, domestic or otherwise," Kenneth said, although he couldn't explain why no one thought the sign was tacky, tasteless or offensive until a customer dining on the patio pointed it out.

He did claim, however, that the restaurant actively supports local non-profits like the Santa Maria Hostel, which provides chemical dependency treatment programs for low-income women.

"Everyone makes mistakes," said Kenneth. "We completely deserved the backlash, and I can't be mad at anyone but myself."

equal-rights-roots-sign.jpg
Roots Bistro's new marquee is less apologetic, more defensive.
This apologetic demeanor isn't in keeping with Roots Bistro's next marquee message, put up after the domestic violence "joke" was taken down.

"Seriously, focus your energy on equal rights," the new, curiously defensive marquee read.

Andrea Greer of the blog Nonsequiteuse was unimpressed by the new sign, writing: "The tone of this sign, needless to say, doesn't suggest genuine contrition so much as 'get over it, ladeez, we're just making a joke, so focus on what really matter, 'mkay?'"

Greer finished: "I'm pretty sure Roots Bistro has now lost the benefit of doubt with most people who see this."

Meanwhile, according to a Senate judiciary report, domestic violence is the leading cause of injury to women between the ages of 15 and 44 in the United States -- more even than car accidents, muggings and rapes combined.

Women of all races are about equally vulnerable to violence by an intimate partner, although low-income women are at a three-times higher risk.

One woman is beaten by her husband or partner every 15 seconds in the United States.

Hilarious.

UPDATE ON FOLLOWING PAGE.


Location Info

Roots Bistro - CLOSED

507 Westheimer Road, Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

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213 comments
Chad Brinkley
Chad Brinkley

I don't live in Houston anymore, but its still my hometown, and I may be back at any point. Gotta take care of your roots.

Chad Brinkley
Chad Brinkley

"Mutha Superior Leila it seems as though you want to be one-sided about things." Yes, she does. Domestic abuse is horrible, this sign is way out of line. I, also, am one-sided about this. Not to mention, you have a horrific faulty dilemma-esque view: "Be kicked around untill you die from it or fight back even if it kills you?" alot of people tend to opt to get the fuck out, as they, themselves, are not violent people. Fighting back in the moment, sure, I guess, but it seems a lot of the abused are unable to sustain physical violence over long periods of time (again because they aren't inherently violent people). They don't want to fight back - they just want OUT. Leaving and finding yourself again and your peace or happiness or JUST YOUR OWN LIFE BACK, doesn't perpetuate a culture of violence like fighting back does. Or you can do what a female member of my family did - finally fight back, get arrested for assault, and now that felony is on her record. *shrug* She doesn't think it was worth fighting back, as that one fight didn't end the abuse.

Chad Brinkley
Chad Brinkley

Even if you pull out the completely offensive part of this, it just isn't funny. Its hackneyed, over-used, and I'd like to see them run a domestic beer special with ALL their domestics on special, not just lone star and pbr

Chad Brinkley
Chad Brinkley

Agreed. Yup, its easy to get over things when you're not the victim but the person causing it.

Chad Brinkley
Chad Brinkley

If you're talking about me and my post about getting over it, please try to read it again and understand sarcasm.

Kyle Jack
Kyle Jack

You're an awful human being.

Aggie_Kelli
Aggie_Kelli

I can't tell you how many times the staff at Fusion Tacos acted like complete assholes, and I really liked their breakfast tacos, they were awesome.  But when you don't show for scheduled appearances, that's just unprofessional.  I wish them the best of luck though on their next endeavor.

Aggie_Kelli
Aggie_Kelli

I can't tell you how many times the staff at Fusion Tacos acted like complete a$$holes, and I really liked their breakfast tacos, they were awesome.  But when you don't show for scheduled appearances, that's just unprofessional.  I wish them the best of luck though on their next endeavor.

kali13
kali13

"I'm so sorry baby, come back, I swear I've changed."

kali13
kali13

"I'm so sorry baby, come back, I swear I've changed."

nothanksroots
nothanksroots

I refuse to support a business that finds this appropriate, regardless of the employees who may not have had a say in it, as some here have suggested is the case. It is up to every individual to make their way in this world, and I'm certain there are plenty of misogynistic men to keep this company in business. As a man who has a mother, a wife, and a daughter, I will never support a company that makes light of the discrimination that goes on in our society against our better halves. Shame on them. 

2008pickle
2008pickle

Takes a very narrow mind to understand the sign.And compare it to anything.

rixfamous
rixfamous

Horse sense dwells in a stable mind, but call the muck truck for this "no brains at all" signage

TedStickles
TedStickles

So when this places closed because of sensational news coverage like this, what about all the employees losing their jobs, even if they had nothing to do with this sign? Fuck them for having the gall to work there, right? That's the message I'm getting from this, is that right? Good job.

Once again, You're Really Making A Fucking Difference.

Al.Sharpton
Al.Sharpton

When did this nation get so sensitive? It was a joke. A funny one at that.

ted104b
ted104b

You all have not figured it out....that granollas are really the most insentsetive and hypocrityal people on earth...

Kathy Stabe
Kathy Stabe

I saw this on Facebook a day or so ago, but I didn't know it is a Houston restaurant. Sad.

Thor Delph
Thor Delph

Who cares? Do you honestly think they are promoting domestic violence? People need to loosen up.

Judi Hurwitt
Judi Hurwitt

Not sure if you knew it or not, but this article of yours was just picked up by Salon...

Rassul David Zarinfar
Rassul David Zarinfar

All the talk is from the manager. Who owns this place? If an employee of mine tweeted anything like this, they'd be fired before you got this story to press. But that's the difference between talking & walking.

Craigley
Craigley

So we can't make fun of domestic violence, but we can celebrate films with gun culture  as we shed croc tears for Newtown vics.  I get it now.

Steven McGinn
Steven McGinn

I had the same punch line but they beat me to it...

Judi Hurwitt
Judi Hurwitt

Yeah, seriously tacky, and their "apology" sign that went up afterwards implies that we should focus instead on things "that really matter." It was pretty telling, IMO.

houston1234
houston1234

they are done for. they're food was sub-par at best but people were giving them a chance. this will put the nail in their coffin

Brian I. Block
Brian I. Block

You know when people say a tasteless joke and then go "too soon?" Well it's always too soon. It's terrible that someone thought this was ok to post in the first place. It's unfortunate they did it during Sexual Assault Awareness Month.

Sally Woods
Sally Woods

I do think they crossed the line. Not one thing funny about someone beating the crap outta someone else. Also, the other sign about supporting equal rights seemed dismissive of the outrage by folks of the violence sign.

Craigley
Craigley

I plan to eat here because it' funny.  Would be even funnier with a picture of two Bruce's battling it out.

matt906
matt906

Sounds like KyleJack needs to find something worthwhile to do with his life.  Sitting in bars and tweeting about this is hilarious.  Maybe volunteering at a shelter will bring some satisfaction to your life.

Aggie_Kelli
Aggie_Kelli

Why is this here?  I made this comment a week ago :/

Kylejack
Kylejack topcommenter

@TedStickles There's nothing sensational about covering bad brand messaging from a company that outrages something like 95% of the public (as evidenced by the vast majority of the comments here and elsewhere).

drozy
drozy

@TedStickles The managers are idiots. First they let some person put up a stupid message, then they put up a douchebag half apology. Finally now they came out and said they were sorry. If they would have handled it right from the beginning and gave a sincere apology it would have went away quickly. They only have themselves to blame.

Aggie_Kelli
Aggie_Kelli

The message you SHOULD be getting is it doesn't matter how funny or unfunny the joke was, the lack of sensitivity to a serious issue that occurs every day several times a day isn't funny.  And who cares if they took it from another sign, does that make it any better?  Had it been racist but funny would you still feel the same way?  Would people be so indifferent?  That's what I find amazing here is that people are actually defending the sign in a sort of way...Houston, we got problems if this sign is not a big deal and meant as a joke, and the subsequent sign (which basically gives the finger) should be equally disheartening.  I understand that if the restaurant closes people will lose their jobs, guess what, IT HAPPENS EVERY DAY!  Grow up and act like you have a pair.

kshilcutt
kshilcutt moderator editortopcommenter

@TedStickles Are you upset at the news media for reporting on something ugly, demeaning and unprofessional that a business did, which upset their customers and local community? Or at people in the community for being upset that a local business would make unfunny jokes about kids being beaten by their parents or spouses assaulted by their partners? Just trying to make sense of this whole "I'm offended that you're offended by something offensive!" argument that seems to be eating its own tail today.

drozy
drozy

@Craigley I am betting that some people do not like either. Just sayin

ted104b
ted104b

I agree with the other poster

Kylejack
Kylejack topcommenter

@matt906 Hey Matt, I'm really satisfied with my life and enjoy it. I'm a HAWC contributor and love what they do. I was really excited to see them win at OKRA Charity Saloon a couple months ago. You know, one of those places where I sit in a bar tweeting. (What's wrong with that, exactly? Wasn't quite clear on that part.)

texmex01
texmex01 topcommenter

@Aggie_Kelli so where does the word "forgiveness" fit in your "have a pair" world?

matt906
matt906

@Kylejack tweeting yet again while you should be working.  Says quite a bit about your personal ethics.  I don't call drinking at OKRA supporting an organization. 

matt906
matt906

@drozy based on his twitter postings alone, it's very obvious. 

Aggie_Kelli
Aggie_Kelli

I can forgive and not forget.  Their first attempt at an apology was really lacking but eventually they made the right attempt.  I didn't say I would never eat there again or wish them destruction.

Aggie_Kelli
Aggie_Kelli

Ah yes because perhaps the website goofed and didn't post my first one and if that's your response then lol.

Kylejack
Kylejack topcommenter

@matt906 Thanks for your concern trolling about my employer, because that's what's really important here.

Aggie_Kelli
Aggie_Kelli

My defense is not a rant sir.  You are making a generalization about one person that you have never met nor know personally.  For me thats a tradegy and to not only agrandize that his response or anyone's for that matter could result in death of people or hardware is just silly.  I have a college degree sir and am on the upper eschilon of my field so kudos to you for once again making a generalization about someone you neither have met nor know personally.  good luck to you.

Aggie_Kelli
Aggie_Kelli

My defense is not a rant sir.  You are making a generalization about one person that you have never met nor know personally.  For me thats a tradegy and to not only agrandize that his response or anyone's for that matter could result in death of people or hardware is just silly.  I have a college degree sir and am on the upper eschilon of my field so kudos to you for once again making a generalization about someone you neither have met nor know personally.

matt906
matt906

@Aggie_Kelli Great rant!  There will always be some people who are educated and use their intelligence daily.  Unfortunately, there will be others that aren't.  Best of luck.

Aggie_Kelli
Aggie_Kelli

Oh barf Matt906, get off your high horse.  The industries you are referring to are not the general population so please, for the love of god, get a clue.  You are being dramatic. 

matt906
matt906

@Aggie_Kelli   In some industries a brief distraction can result in death or millions of dollars in damage to hardware.  It is obvious kylejack does not work in one of those industries.  Next time you have a chance, look up the word rant, you might use it properly next time.

Aggie_Kelli
Aggie_Kelli

Is there some reason he has to not be at work in order to tweet?  I work my ass off all day yet still have breaks to facebook or tweet or respond to idiotic rants like yours

matt906
matt906

@Blake Nah you're reading way too much into it.  just briefly went to his twitter page and could see he posts all hours of the day, when most people work.  I guess people don't have ethics training in their job.  It clearly defines what companies consider good and bad.  You don't have to know anyone to determine if their behavior is ethically good or bad.   I think the whole thing is ridiculous personally.  There are lots bigger things to worry about.

Blake
Blake

@matt906 @Kylejack  I don't know either of you (I do recognize KJ as a regular here), but I've seen commenters take this approach before.

I'm not sure you understand this, but your posts lead readers to believe you're either a creepy individual who's going too far in monitoring a stranger's online habits and subsequently making ridiculous assumptions about his or her "personal ethics," or you actually know the person you're talking to and have chosen a completely inappropriate (and ineffective) way to air some kind of festering grievance.


Or straight trolling. 


No good option here.

Kylejack
Kylejack topcommenter

@matt906 No, I support HAWC by donating. I'm tweeting in bars while I should be working? What would you know about my work schedule or workplace policies, matt906?

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