Yes, It Can Happen Here

You’d have to really have your head in the sand not to be hearing about reports of empowered bigots causing trouble all across the country. That sort of thing would never happen around here, right?

wolfgangs-tweetsThere’s a stark choice these days: Say nothing, or say something. I’m generally not a fan of mass shaming, but in this case, I encourage you to tweet @Wolfgangssteak any thoughts you might be having about respect for American values, or what used to pass for them.

UPDATE: I called Wolfgang’s—it’s possible that the chain’s social media is handled by an outside firm, and that the management is totally unaware of this matter—and I was told to call on Monday, when the manager will be there.

UPDATE 11/13: I had also asked Lindsay Means to let me know if she heard anything from the restaurant. One of the friends who was with her the other night had this conversation on Instagram:

wolfgangs-conversationUPDATE 11/13: And then I heard again from Means, who said that the women spoke to the manager tonight, who apologized on behalf of the employees and customers and said, “They were drunk out of their minds, but that’s not an excuse.” He offered the women a gift certificate or dinner, but they said all they want is a written apology and a statement that the restaurant won’t condone this behavior in their guests or employees. The manager said upper management is “probably working on something” but is aware of the posts. The women now have the CEO’s email address and will reach out to him directly.

UPDATE 11/15: Wolfgang’s sent out a trio of tweets last night. (It misspelled Means’s name, but someone else pointed it out to her.) I’m waiting to hear whether this was the extent of the communication.

wolfgangs-response-tweets

37 Comments

  1. Thanks. Can now cross them off my list of restaurants I want to try.

  2. Not to mention this place is crawling with rats at night. The 3 other eating establishments on this street do a great job of keeping garbage secure at night, but this place is a frickin’ RAT buffet at night. Go by there any morning early and there is food waste scattered everywhere. Health department should shut it down.

    • I thought I was the only one who noticed that! I swear, I thought I saw Templeton from Charlotte’s Web there.

      I’m kind of a gross guy so the truth is unclean dining environment doesnt doesn’t bother me. Condoning the harassment of women sure does bother me, so I’m switching to Palm. Plus Palm has that hickory barbecue smoked steak thing.

    • 1. I’m horrified and was actually going to go there for dinner tonight and decided against it until I hear how the restaurant responds/handled this.
      2. Despite #1 I do think the rat thing historically had more to do with the empty lot which is now being built right there (exacerbated by the garbage by WGangs) THAT SAID they need to dispose of garbage better and leave less food on the sidewalk.

    • Put in 311 complaint about the rat and improper garbage disposal situation.

      • The rats nest is in the sewer on the corner (underneath Wichcraft). They are always running in and out of there at night.

        Let’s not get off topic though. That Wolfgang’s behavior is disgusting. Take a stand!

  3. There are truths here, but they’re hard to sort out (everything seems a bit of a challenge to sort out at the moment, I’ll admit). But one truth is that this establishment’s audience (I’ve eaten there a few times, and as steak houses go, it’s fine) is the same audience it’s always been. The makeup of our neighborhood hasn’t changed to any extent in the past month or two. So to hold the service staff accountable, or even the restaurant ownership, seems a particularly ineffective strategy for dealing with this issue. I regret that I can’t offer anything better, however. If efforts are made to turn people of conscience off to this place, the result may be that 100% of its patrons will be like those in this anecdote. But the impulse is understandable.

    The non-homo sapiens rats are another story…

    • Would it be preferable to hold the boorish men accountable rather than the staff? Absolutely. But we still need everyone, everywhere, to say, “This will not be allowed here.”

    • I’m curious to see how upper management deals with the staff who failed to appropriately address the women and the diners who verbally attacked them. The staff that night failed terribly to handle this situation in every way possible.
      It’s too late to charge the male diners with any type of harassment and there is nothing more that can be done for the women either, unfortunately.
      Upper management needs to send a clear message to their staff that behavior like that will not be tolerated and if needed, police will be called in in cases of such harassment.

  4. Has the restaurant released a statement yet?

  5. Crossed off my list.

  6. The three women told their story on Restaurant’s FB page.

  7. OK, Palm from now on.

    • Yep. Went there tonight instead of WGangs. Would have been a lot easier to go the 1.5 blocks with our 6 month old, but didn’t feel morally right until this is straightened out. Hope they do the right thing.

  8. Spit in their food.

  9. Erik, thank you for posting this. People need to pay attention and take action- like you have. Note to the public: my studio is a safe place for women, lgbtq, everyone. If you’re in the area and need an ally please find us- we do not accept, condone, allow, shrug our shoulders at- this treatment of women,

  10. If I were walking down the street and witnessed that behavior, I hope I would have the courage to stop, record a minute of video and then call the police. Street harassment is a misdemeanor. Specifically, disorderly conduct includes “abusive or obscene language or obscene gestures in a public place” and carries a fine of up to $250 and/or up to 15 days in jail.

    http://www.stopstreetharassment.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/SSH-KYR-NewYork.pdf

    Now, when the police stop responding and caring about this, we have a different problem. But for now, it’s up to all of us to maintain the society we want to live in.

    • A friend sent me a video about confronting racism (but relevant in many situations) that pointed out you can also be helpful, if you’re not sure how to respond, by simply standing next to the people being harassed, letting them know they’re not on their own. And then spending time with them afterward, making sure they’re OK, helping them contact a friend, and so on.

  11. Does it bother no one that the response from the restaurant was so poorly written? “Inconvenience”? “Time phrase”?? Canned words, totally insincere and devoid of any real humanity.

    • Totally agree Chris. We went to Wolfgang’s (for the first and LAST time) to celebrate my mother’s 87th birthday with our 12 year old son two weeks ago. The service was careless, the food was unexceptional but the patrons language & behavior was abysmal. Loud constant profanity from 3 of the 4 surrounding tables was never addressed. We will NEVER repeat that visit. We, as a family, were absolutely shocked. We were ashamed that we chose to bring my mother there. There are so many other preferable options in our otherwise terrific neighborhood for dining and celebrating life’s milestones.

  12. Erik, the Tribeca Citizen keeps getting better. Thanks for your thoughtful posts making your readers aware of situations like this.

    • Yes,thanks to Erik and everyone who reported and responded. While we like Wolfgang’s, it’s just as easy to go to American Cut.

      Re: the rats — i have a terrier with a nose for vermin, and she used to drag me to the lot where that new building is going in. There were hundreds of rats living there. And, yes, they seem to have relocated to the sewer in front of TriBeCa Tavern and Wichcraft. The nose knows!

    • Agree Susan. Thanks Erik for reporting this and keeping the contact with those so grossly harassed . Low lifes. Wolfgangs won’t be getting a single of $ of mine, ever.

  13. Long before you had Trump, a lot of the clientele at Wolfgang’s has always consisted of large groups of very hard looking foreign men who are scary looking. I am convinced that some of them must be gangsters. This type of behavior is not surprising. Because of this clientele and poor treatment by management, we stopped going there long ago.

  14. I’ve always preferred American Cut to Wolfgang’s

  15. this is disgusting….. Please go to Yelp and post something and add this chat. Our country is a mess but I will not have NYC go through this….FIGHT FIGHT FIGHT

  16. This gives me hope. I applaud these women for standing up for themselves and the community for embracing the issue.

  17. Kudos to Tribeca Citizen for reporting this and for the link to the Brandy Library. Now we have informed choice when considering Wolfgangs, which my family will abstain from patronizing. I’m also looking forward to directing our support to Brandy Library!

  18. Another note:
    In response to the post election increase of discrimination, Andrew Cuomo has implemented a state wide hotline to report any Incidents of Bias.
    Contact 1-888-392-3644

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