Rhode Island restaurant posts Anne Frank meme, apologizes

The meme posted by the restaurant depicts a picture of Anne Frank with the caption, "It is hotter in here than an oven...and I should know."

 Anne Frank's passport photo. (photo credit: WIKICOMMONS)
Anne Frank's passport photo.
(photo credit: WIKICOMMONS)

A bar and restaurant in Tiverton, Rhode Island apologized on Monday for posting an offensive meme on Friday of Anne Frank. It was a black and white picture of her with the phrase "It is hotter in here than an oven...and I should know" written across the picture and "#OhBoy" as the caption.

According to 1420 WBSM radio talk show host Jessica Machado, the owner, who has not been named, was the one who posted the meme on to the restaurant's since-deleted Facebook page, saying that it was a reference to how hot it was in the restaurant. 

Who was Anne Frank?

Anne Frank was a 15-year-old girl who famously hid with her family from the Nazis for two years. They were then captured by the Nazis and she and her sister, Margot, died in the Bergen-Belson concentration camp from typhus.

Machado, whose husband is Jewish, called the restaurant as soon as she saw the post on Facebook, which has since been taken down, asking for an explanation. She spoke about it at The Jessica Machado Show on Saturday.

"The girl that answered said, 'I don't know what you're talking about, what post?'" Machado said on the podcast. "I explained it and she said she didn't get it, and I said, 'OK, did you post it?' and she said no. So I asked if I could talk to the person that did it and she hung up on me."

Machado called the restaurant back and she got ahold of the very annoyed restaurant owner.

She continued, "He doubled down on it and said he had just Googled it. He thought it was funny, and that they were very, very busy and it was very hot there, and that they didn't have time to deal with my concerns or questions. He told me not to call them back and then, click, they hung up on me."

"He doubled down on it and said he had just Googled it. He thought it was funny, and that they were very, very busy and it was very hot there, and that they didn't have time to deal with my concerns or questions. He told me not to call them back and then, click, they hung up on me."

Radio talk show host Jessica Machado

What did the restaurant say?

"The post was poorly thought out and we realize that it was incredibly inappropriate and does not reflect our values as members of our community," The apology posted by the restaurant read.

"There is no excuse for the sharing of this post, and there is nothing we can do to rectify it. All we can do now is offer our deepest apology to those who were rightfully hurt by our actions.

"The Atlantic Restaurant prides itself on being a tolerant, inclusive, and safe space for all people. We love and respect all of our incredible customers and members of our larger community, irrespective of their religion, race, creed, sexuality, or gender identity," the post continues.

According to WBSM, the talk show obtained screenshots from the owner's personal private Facebook page posting his own apology.

The post read, "On behalf of myself, I would like to sincerely apologize for the distasteful meme I posted on our Facebook Business page. No excuses should be made, but I must speak on my behalf. I didn't know, I honestly didn't know. I am aware that EVERYONE knows who Anne Frank is, but I did not finish school and I was working at age 13, so I did not recognize her as I posted the meme about being hot as an oven."

"I am aware that EVERYONE knows who Anne Frank is, but I did not finish school and I was working at age 13, so I did not recognize her as I posted the meme about being hot as an oven."

Rhode Island bar & restaurant owner

He continues in his apology by stating that he was just Googling funny memes and he simply picked the wrong one. He took the post down once he was made aware of it. 

"The restaurant did receive calls on Friday night to discuss this further," he says, "The hostess did not know anything about this post as she was receiving many calls for reservations and take-out orders. When I was given the phone, we had a full dining room with sweating guests as our air conditioner stopped working. I handled the call unprofessionally, no doubt, and for that, I apologize as well."

The restaurant added that moving forward they will be "vigilant in vetting all social media posts to ensure that nothing like the events of this past week ever happen again."

Anne Frank Twitter debate

This comes on the heels of a fierce Twitter debate - that went viral - questioning whether Anne Frank had "white privilege or not." 

Some were saying she was hiding behind her "whiteness" and that's how she got away with hiding for so long. Others were saying that there is a book written about her and that proves that she had "white privilege."