The Chicagoist will be launching later but in the meantime please enjoy our archives.

Highland Park Deli Owner Apologizes For Horrible Tweet About Las Vegas Shooting

By Emma G. Gallegos in News on Oct 4, 2017 6:24PM

Max's deli co-owner Greg Morelli drinks some black coffee in a photo uploaded with an apology to Facebook
Greg Morelli, the co-owner of a Highland Park Jewish deli that we once hailed as the perfect place to get New York-style deli classics locally, has once again stoked controversy with an offensive social media posts.

In the wake of a white supremacist march and attack on counter-protestors in Charlottesville about a month ago, Morelli uploaded a cartoon version of his deli's menu. He wanted to make a political statement, and he sure did with a cartoon that shows a blonde Trump-like figure performing a Nazi salute while wearing a Nazi armband and a T-shirt over an SS uniform that identifies him as a member of the Alt-Right. It was an attempt at satire by the Jewish deli owner that fell flat, offended many of his fellow Jews and put him in the cross-hairs of a heated culture war—and right in the middle of the High Holidays.

Morelli didn't back down. It put his brother and co-owner Joey Morelli on the defensive, assuring customers that his brother's heart was in the right place. The Simon Wiesenthal Center, which is an organization that researches "the Holocaust and hate in a historic and contemporary context," took the opportunity to host a dialogue at the deli.

Now in the wake of the mass shooting in Las Vegas this weekend, Morelli couldn't help but weigh in again. He posted, well, a lot of stuff on Twitter but this tweet was a standout for its heartlessness toward the victims of the shooting:

Screenshot of Greg Morelli's tweet, since taken down

This time the Simon Wiesenthal Center didn't want to associate with him. They wrote on Facebook, "The Simon Wiesenthal Center is outraged by Max's Deli's disgusting Tweet and will have nothing to do with them in the future."

Morelli took down the offending tweet and apologized in a lengthy, rambling post on Facebook, in which he mused about drinking black coffee, Johnny Cash and Jane's Addiction and wanting to eat oatmeal but not having an appetite. "This is my mass apology," he wrote, in a post that has over 2,100 extremely incensed comments.

It's clear that Morelli and nearly everyone close to him has been the target of quite a bit of anger and threats. He writes, "Sorry to my staff, who took too many threatening phone calls, got scared and closed early. Sorry to my mom, who read all the comments, took them to heart and fears for my life. I let you down, Mom."

He ended his post, "I tried to participate. But all I did is put my foot in my mouth. These mass shootings have me freaked out. I'm sorry."

Morelli also tried to explain the tweet to the Tribune: "As a white guy, I was relieved that it wasn't across race lines, or religion lines or (an attack) from outside the country. When I heard the news, I said, Please God, don't let it be" war.