A story with local implications broke on Sunday via the Washington Post, and it's already spelling some trouble for a storied local restaurant, via Yelp. Terri Upshaw, born Terri Buich into the family that currently owns one of SF's oldest restaurants, Tadich Grill told a columnist at the DC paper about how her family summarily disowned her at her father's encouragement back in 1983 when she fell in love with and decided to marry a black man. That man was pro football player Gene Upshaw, who spent his whole career as an offensive lineman for the Oakland Raiders, from 1967 to 1981.
Terri Upshaw says when she decided to follow Gene to D.C. after he got a job there, her father told her she should never come back or call them again, and she hasn't.
Word got back to her father. She remembers how much she sobbed in that final family meeting with her parents and siblings. She was 23 and pleading for love — both theirs and her own. She thinks her mother and siblings were crying, but it has been so long. Only the final message was clear.
When she told her father that she had decided to follow the black man she loved to Washington, she says, “he told me that’s it you’re out of the family. Change your last name, and don’t ever call us again.”
It was 1983. They married in 1986.
Gene Upshaw later died of cancer in 2008, and Terri, now 55, decided to go public with the painful story in large part because the Buich family decided to expand, coincidentally, to her home turf in D.C. The second branch of Tadich Grill in the nation's capital just opened this month, and Upshaw found herself telling the story again to more friends, and having them remind her how "archaic" it sounds.
Strangely, given how much time has passed not to mention how such racist views have become considerably less common in the last three decades Upshaw's family, including her siblings, still refuse to talk to her or meet her two sons, who are now 25 and 28.
This has all led to some bombardment of the restaurant's Yelp page, and Yelp giving them a reprieve of sorts, as DCist shows us, via their newly developed "active cleanup" function that kills all reviews not related to a recent visit to the restaurant after such a story goes viral.
As you can see, the same pop-up window has shown up on the Yelp page for the San Francisco location, noting the news story and saying, "The best place to share your thoughts is on Yelp Talk. You are also welcome to post a review about this business, but we will ultimately remove reviews that appear to be motivated more by the news coverage itself than by the reviewer’s own customer experience with the business."
This could definitely spell trouble for the 166-year-old SF restaurant, but the Buich family has yet to make any public comment or apology.
Sam Singer to the rescue, anyone?