'You hate America?': Bar faces backlash after bartender is filmed refusing to serve man in 'MAGA' visor

Erin Donnelly
A bar patron was wearing a “Make America Great Again” hat popularized by President Trump. (Photo: Visions of America/UIG via Getty Images)
A bar patron was wearing a “Make America Great Again” hat popularized by President Trump. (Photo: Visions of America/UIG via Getty Images)

A New York City bar has issued a statement distancing itself from a bartender who was filmed refusing to serve a man wearing a “Make America Great Again” (MAGA) visor.

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A statement posted to the Facebook page for Jake’s Dilemma, located on Manhattan’s Upper West Side, responded to outcry over footage posted by Dion Cini. Cini claimed on March 7 that he was “kicked out” of the bar for wearing a red MAGA visor. His video shows a male bartender confirming that he won’t serve an irate Cini.

“You hate America?” Cini asks him, just before a third man, who appears to be a bouncer, tries to cut off the conversation and tells the Trump supporter to “take it outside.”

Though he initially appears calm during the interaction, the bartender eventually grows tired of Cini’s “soy boy” taunts. “Soy boy” is an insult used to accuse a man of not being masculine enough.

“Why don’t you get the f*** out?” the bartender fires back in the video.

The bouncer then tells Cini to leave, but he refuses. Cini demands that the police be called and continues to express his outrage over the objection to his hat.

“How many times did I wear this hat in this bar before?” he asks. “Probably 25, 30 times before. And this f***ing guy … now he’s going to set the rules for you guys? That’s a shame.”

Cini’s post has since gone viral. And while many agreed with the bartender, angry Trump supporters reacted by leaving negative reviews for the bar on Yelp — which has since issued an “unusual activity alert” and disabled comments on Jake’s Dilemma’s page.

“Not a very nice welcoming staff,” reads a review posted after Cini’s video went public. “The bartender was cocky and arrogant. When asked why they discriminate against people that have different views was met with a bunch of attitude. I seriously suggest a little training, I have a job working with the public I am not allowed to let my personal views get in the way of my job and I always treat my customers the same. Shame on your company.”

“Sucks bigly,” complained another Yelp review. “Staff severely infected with Trump derangement syndrome. Beer tastes like it came from the pee hole of an elderly person with a severe UTI.”

Jake’s Dilemma was bombarded with negative reviews after a bartender refused to serve a Trump supporter in a MAGA hat. (Photo: Facebook/Jake’s Dilemma)
Jake’s Dilemma was bombarded with negative reviews after a bartender refused to serve a Trump supporter in a MAGA hat. (Photo: Facebook/Jake’s Dilemma)

The backlash has prompted the bar to set the record straight. While Jake’s Dilemma didn’t offer an apology per se, the bar’s statement did call out the bartender for “wrongly [promoting] his political views.” The bartender has reportedly been “disciplined,” and customers of all political backgrounds are welcomed to come in for a drink.

The statement reads:

“The ownership and management of Jake’s Dilemma would like to directly address an incident which occurred at the bar this past week and has been making its way around social media. We would like everyone to know that we strive to remain completely apolitical and welcome customers with all beliefs and affiliations with the same first-rate level of customer service. Jake’s Dilemma is not a place promoting any specific political ideology, nor a place where we want anyone to feel unwelcome. Rather, we encourage all to eat, drink, socialize and enjoy themselves at our bar. Our staff and management team include people from all walks of life and beliefs. There is no singular or any defining character of Jake’s Dilemma. With all this in mind, we do fully acknowledge that one of our employees took it upon himself to wrongly promote his political views. We can assure everyone that this employee has been disciplined and will be retrained before being allowed to serve at Jake’s Dilemma. We hope to see you at Jake’s Dilemma next time you are in the neighborhood.”

Reaction to the post is divided, with offended MAGA fans continuing to call for a boycott and demanding that the bartender in question be fired, while Trump critics are commenting that he should be given a raise.

“What a craven statement,” a commenter said of the statement. “Serving people who wear hats (validly) associated with racism, xenophobia, sexism and oh yes, separating children from children is itself a political statement. If someone came in wearing a racist T-shirt, would it be ‘apolitical’ to serve him or her? Lines must be drawn, and ‘MAGA’ hats are not a bad place to start. Kudos to the bartender(s).”

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