It should surprise no one that online pitchfork mobs tend not to read very carefully or get their facts straight. And, unfortunately, there was even more fallout over the weekend from that incident with Hilda and Jesse turning away some police officers — another North Beach restaurant, called North Beach Restaurant, was mistakenly identified by some in the pro-cop mob as the restaurant in question.
You know how it goes — a bunch of wound-up law-and-order voters hear that libs in San Francisco have done something else they want to be REALLY angry about, and it doesn't really matter what all the details are. Thus, reports about a "North Beach restaurant" in SF spreading across the conservative Twittersphere and blogosphere quickly gave way, like a game of Telephone, to people piling on to North Beach Restaurant, a 51-year-old Italian restaurant at Stockton and Green streets that had nothing to do with any of this.
As manager Maureen Donegan tells KRON4, "We were getting all these random emails all of a sudden, and I was like 'hey team, what’s going on?’ it was just hate-filled and ‘we’ll never come back again'."
Hilda and Jesse has since issued an apology and tried to do a mea culpa in the face of the venomous mob and a "disappointed" SFPD, following a Friday incident in which staffers refused service to some armed, on-duty officers because they were uncomfortable with their weapons. But the story took on serious legs and the apology even made it on to the Today show on Monday.
The restaurant's Yelp page says it is being "monitored" by Yelp staff due to the media storm and "unusual activity" it produced on the page, however Yelp has not yet done anything about the flood of one-star reviews or the Q&A that appears near the top of the page in which someone has asked, "Would you recommend the woke bowl or antifa tapas?"
North Beach Restaurant's Yelp page also has the "unusual activity" warning on it, and it has also been flooded with one-star reviews mistaking it for Hilda and Jesse, and one even refers to "Hilda and Jesse" as the owners.
Should it really take Yelp days to recognize these bullshit reviews and remove them, though, when they all appeared yesterday and the day before referring to another restaurant? Let alone the flood of reviews Hilda and Jesse has received — which, as a new restaurant with not many authentic reviews yet, could be detrimental to business. And shouldn't users posting fake reviews from across the country be penalized somehow — in this day and age when online activism basically amounts to trying to destroy a business you disagree with but have never been to via Yelp?
There's also been a lot made of the fact that the wording of their bills make it sound like they're charging $21 for a simple hash brown — when, in fact, this is a whole composed dish involving pork sausage and sauerkraut and the whole point of this restaurant is that it's fine-dining-style brunch fare.
Former KRON4 correspondent turned independent journalist Stanley Roberts got into the Twitter fray after breaking this story, and he was subsequently mistaken for the owner of Hilda and Jesse and targeted with hate himself. This was all because a conservative blowhard blog called Hot Air Blog messaged their 700,000 followers on Facebook with the incorrect info that Roberts was the owner, and that mob then came for him. As he told SFist on Monday, "It was funny until it wasn't funny anymore."
Hilda and Jesse has since removed the original Instagram post about the police incident.
And maybe all publicity is good publicity?
Photo courtesy of North Beach Restaurant