The website homepage for the restaurant, Basilico’s Pasta e Vino, claims that it’s “a classic neighborhood Italian bistro and bar, serving rustic homestyle cooking. All recipes, and owned & operated by real Italians!” And it’s menu shows it. The menu includes everything from “meatball sliders” in its appetizer section, to “homemade lasagna” in its classic section. Praised for good service and good food, the restaurant has built up a steady reputation as a great place to eat over its years of business. However, Basilico’s is now facing a lot of backlash in the form of one-star Yelp reviews and complaints across their various social media pages. The reason for it isn’t because of a disliked new food item nor a waiter losing their temper. It’s due to a specific mandate the restaurant has made, putting everyone, from its consumers to the owners itself in danger.
The controversy started when Shameless actor, Sammi Ranhatty, shared an experience her father had, getting a to-go order from the restaurant. Expecting the good Italian food and service it was known for, he instead got an establishment that banned masks, in the middle of a country with the highest count of COVID cases. The restaurant even asked him to leave because he was wearing one. Disgusted, the actor took to TikTok, sharing her less than glowing experience at the California restaurant.
TikTok users were not quiet on this subject. Most individuals seemed to support the actress and her claims. “And this is why we can’t get rid of this pandemic faster,” one user said.
“Can we send this to the governor,” another user said.
Others also duetted her video discussing some actions they took in response to Ranhatty’s post. For example, one girl claimed she called the restaurant nine times, telling them to start following the mask enactment California has in place.
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Having some fun with the @SammiHanratty mask shamers! Since @SammiHanratty attacked us on TikTok for our anti-lockdown anti-mask stand, her legions of zombie mask shaming followers have been blowing us up with hundreds and hundreds of harassing hate filled phone calls. Not so fun for them, but it is for us! Take a look and listen to this one that came in the moment our doors opened for business today. #Basilico's Pasta e Vino #NoMasksAllowed #DefendAmericanFreedom #DefendAmericanLiberty
Although most were supportive, some individuals had more negative comments on her calling out the business, saying it was immature and unnecessary.
“If you don’t agree how bout don’t buy food from them anymore people are grown if they want to buy food from them they can,” one user said.
The more supportive users also took their opinions to Google Reviews, Yelp, and Facebook reviews to let others know how dissatisfied they were with the handling of the pandemic at the restaurant.
“Never eat here, they banned masks from the restaurant and contribute to the spread of COVID-19. Absolutely disgusting and abhorrent,” one review stated.
Because of the recent spike in reviews on Yelp, posting a review on their restaurant is temporarily blocked. But the TikTok users continued to find other ways to get their point across.
Some found the Instagram account of Basilico’s, which is filled with anti-mask propaganda. The Instagram page has posted lots of videos and photos that have belittled what Dr. Fauci’s and the CDC’s statements have said. The restaurant also compares mask-wearing to communism as seen in videos on their YouTube channel.
Most of these posts have hundreds of comments from people far more interested in how the restaurant handles the pandemic than any new recipe’s Basilico’s is planning to add to its’ menu. Of these commenters, the vast majority complain about the restaurant’s handling of the pandemic.
“Imagine thinking wearing a mask is too hard,” one Instagram user stated.
“I hope your business tanks and you get shut down,” another said.
Social media is not the only area where Basilico’s has attempted to spread its message. The restaurant went as far as to buy out a billboard discouraging mask-wearing, as seen in the feature image. The billboard reads, “leave the mask, take the cannoli.”
The restaurant soon took notice of all the comments from across its various platforms. The response was to double down. Basilico’s Instagram posted a photo with all text that stated, “Hollywood Actress Sammi Hanratty from the show “Shameless” should be ashamed. But anyone messes with us, we’re going to mess with them! So read our DM to her here!” The post then shows screenshots of their very long and detailed message to the actress, calling her a “mini tyrant” and inviting her to come to their restaurant as long as she does not wear a mask. Well, I guess we will see what she says.
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Hollywood actress @SammiHanratty from the show 'Shameless' should be very ashamed Hey Sammi, you hit and ran a few weeks ago, attacking our stand in defense of Liberty and Freedom! We direct messaged you, but you never replied. We then blew it off, figuring you for another 'all bark no bite' bored bigmouth. But now Your minions are making death threats! So we are now making our direct message to you that you disrespectfully ignored public. See the most recent article about her beef with us, at the link below. @gossipcop https://www.gossipcop.com/shameless-star-shames-restaurant-for-aggressive-mask-policy/2557421 #DefendAmericanFreedom #DefendAmericanLiberty #NoMasksAllowed #Basilico's Pasta e Vino
In the end, Basilico’s stance against face masks is one of many other small businesses making the decision to put political conspiracies over public safety.
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