The socialist owner of a chain of trendy restaurants in Washington, D.C., and former mayoral candidate says he was forced to lay off hundreds of staffers this week due to the outbreak of COVID-19.
Andy Shallal owns the Busboys and Poets restaurant chain and was endorsed for mayor by the Democratic Socialists of America. But, like any capitalist, he now has to deal with the fallout from the pandemic.
Shallal has hosted a slew of controversial speakers at his restaurants, including former Weather Underground terrorist Bill Ayers, and avowed communist Angela Davis. At his restaurant in 2015, Davis spoke admiringly about cop killers Leonard Peltier and Mumia Abu-Jamal and Palestinian terrorist Rasmea Odeh.
“This is dramatic. This is not a joke,” Shallal told DCist, adding that he is applying for loans from the D.C. government to keep the business afloat. “How’s that going to play out?” he asked the outlet. “It’s going to break the bank, but someone needs to come through.”
Shallal told the outlet that he is also looking at government programs that can help his former employees and said they are welcome to get free lunches at any of his open locations.
On Saturday, Busboys and Poets addressed the coronavirus concerns on its Twitter feed, writing that it enacted “enhanced cleaning protocols.” The chain also said that it provides “paid sick leave for all employees.” “We are proud to have been at the forefront of this movement in Washington, D.C.,” said the restaurant group.
In addition to hosting speaking gigs by Ayers and Davis, Shallal also hosted a 9/11 truther event.
Shallal has hosted controversial speakers and events at his venues, including a group called DC 9/11 Truth. The organization describes the Sept. 11 attacks as a “false flag operation” and said it works “to disseminate the evidence proving involvement of U.S. government officials and U.S. allies in the attacks of 9/11.” The restaurant also hosted a commemoration for the “Freedom Flotilla,” a group of boats carrying anti-Israel activists that initiated a violent altercation with the Israeli military in 2010.
It’s his money and he can do whatever he wants with it. If he wants to give his employees a lot of goodies, I’m sure they’re very happy to get them.
So why use the government to force anyone else to follow your example? Maybe they don’t want to spend their money on employees. Perhaps they want to buy a yacht or buy a second home on the beach. Maybe they want to save it and give it to their kids after they’re gone. If their employees don’t like it, they can go and work for Shallal.
This compulsion by socialists to force people to do good reveals an authoritarian impulse that is at the heart of their ideology. No doubt, the government will bail out Shallal and he will go on using the capitalist system to advance his rancid ideology.