Andersonville Shop Owner Apologizes For 'I Can Breathe' Shirt
By Anthony Todd in Food on Jan 8, 2016 9:00PM
Photo via Facebook.
"I apologize," owner Mike told Chicagoist. (He declined to give his last name.) "I really, really apologize. Sincerely, from the bottom of my heart... Did I sleep last night? No."
The photo, which Mike confirms is a photo of him, surfaced on Facebook on Wednesday. The shirt reads "I can breathe. I obey the law."
The message is a reference to the death of Eric Garner, who famously gasped "I can't breathe" before he died in an illegal chokehold at the hands of New York police officers.
"I wasn't even thinking about that," Mike said of the Eric Garner case. "I swear to my mother's grave."
Mike, who is originally from Morocco and told Chicagoist he is black, added, "I was not thinking. I wake up in the morning, I wear it... I feel like an idiot."
"It's a free country," he continued. "I got the right to wear whatever I want to wear... [but] I don't want to offend anybody."
He said he spoke to a customer who was offended by the T-shirt for 20 or 30 minutes on the phone last night.
"I explained to him, I am wrong," Mike said.
Social media users vehemently agree. In the last few days, Piatto Pronto's Yelp and Facebook have been flooded with one-star reviews, citing the shirt's racist message.
There are similar reviews popping up on Yelp.
Mae Rice contributed reporting to this story