A burger restaurant in Illinois is at the center of a controversy around a bumper sticker that some are calling racist and inappropriate.
Sam Schnelle, a customer at Gross’ Burgers in Danville, Ill., logged on to Facebook on Friday to post a photo of the sticker in question, which read: “If you can’t read this, thank a Marine.” The message then pointed to Arabic writing and displayed the acronym for the United States Marine Corp. But Schnelle is calling it “absolutely disgusting,” while others on the social platform say that it has signs of “racism.”
“Come for the burgers, stay for the blatant racism!” one person said on the post. Another added, “If you can read it, thank yourself for being a multicultural human and not a xenophobic garbage human.”
One regular even said that the sticker’s message was the reason that their family would no longer be giving their business to Gross’ Burgers.
“Please consider that our community is not just for those who are native-born English speakers,” the customer wrote. “Let’s move forward and make Danville welcoming and inclusive for everyone who wants to build it up and make it great.”
When Schnelle asked the restaurant’s owner, Brad Gross, to remove the sticker, he allegedly refused.
A large number of people have come out in support of Gross and have made the argument that the bumper sticker is “not racism.” Some even say that the message is just misunderstood.
“It’s not about speaking another language. Be fluent in as many [ways] as you want. That’s great. But the sign is about being under a Muslim law or Sharia law & government that would make us write Arabic and abide by their laws,” one person shared. “We need to thank our military we are not forced to be under that type of law.”
Another person continued on that point and said, “Learn the history of the restaurant, Marine owned and operated. Get over it.”
Schnelle says that it wasn’t her first time at the restaurant, but this was the first occasion that she noticed the sticker. Gross said the sticker has been up for over 10 years.
“That bumper sticker has been in my restaurant for more than a decade and a Marine that served in Iraq brought it in and asked me to put it up,” Gross explained. “I said, ‘Yea, sure, go put it up,’ and it’s been there for all these years.”
By the looks of the business’s Facebook page, it appears that the owner is still getting a ton of support. According to one supporter, Gross actually sold out of burgers on Sunday as a consequence of the free publicity.