The father and son duo that owns one of New York City's most popular pizza places will be stepping down from daily operations after a series of racist comments made online recently resurfaced.
Frank and Dominic Morano of Prince Street Pizza in Manhattan will no longer have any involvement with the business, which recently expanded to include a location in Los Angeles, nor with customers. The Moranos will still hold ownership of the pizzeria, however, a restaurant spokesperson said.
The racist comments were said to have been posted on social media as well as Yelp, with some dating back to 2016. A food blogger resurfaced some of the insensitive posts, a handful of which appear to mock the Black Lives Matter movement. One older, since-deleted Facebook post from Dominic makes a joke of protesters getting hit by a car.
"Making light of violence is indefensible," Dominic stated in a statement posted on the restaurant's Instagram story on Friday. "I apologize from the bottom of my heart. The horror the world has witnessed in unwarranted and unjust deaths of black men and women killed in recent years has been heartbreaking. And me making light of what is happening was and is wrong."
The eatery's Yelp page has been flooded with negative reviews and comments, with many sharing a screenshot of an online conversation the restaurant had with one customer in which derogatory terms against Asians were used repeatedly.
"There is nothing okay about the comments I made on Yelp. I take full responsibility and wholeheartedly apologize to our customers, especially our Asian community," Frank Morano said. "All of our customers are family to us and you deserve so much better I am stepping down because it’s the right thing to do."
The restaurant said that before the exchange, security had to kick the reviewer out of the establishment because they were drunk and violent toward other customers, as well as allegedly using "degrading" terms about Italians.
"I wanted to protect my customers and employees. I should have never responded, I should’ve taken the high road and let it be," Frank said. "I was so incredibly offended because I love all of our customers and want to protect them and I was shocked at what I was reading. However, the fact of the matter is there’s no excuse for what I said and how I responded."