By the time Rage Against the Machine came on the scene, I’d already stopped listening to contemporary music, so it didn’t break my heart today when I learned that the band’s frontman, Tom Morello, may have outed himself as an entitled little prick in Seattle a few nights ago.
As is often the case these days, it all started with a Tweet.
According to published reports, things had gotten heated when Morello, who had been in Seattle to perform at a benefit concert for the grassroots organization 15 Now, was turned away from a place called The 5 Point Cafe. According to folks at the restaurant, there were several people waiting for tables when Morello, accompanied by his entourage, walked up and asked for a “special room.” When they were told to get in line, Morello then, unsuccessfully, played the “Do you know who I am?” card. When that too failed, Morello took to Twitter, not only calling out the restaurant by name, but labeling the bar’s owner “anti-worker.”
The owner of The 5 Point, David Meinert, then responded with the following letter, posted to Facebook.
For the record, Tom Morello — The 5 Point is totally pro-worker. We try to pay more than any other small restaurant, and on top of the higher pay, we offer health insurance, paid sick days, paid time off, retirement and profit share. Sorry if you had an issue with our staff, but typically our staff is awesome, and when they are not, it’s usually a reflection of the customer. Act like a prick = get treated like a prick.
I have to say, your attacking a small business without knowing anything about it, or addressing your problem with them directly before you go on a public rant, pretty much sucks. Just lost a ton of respect for you, and I’ve been a fan for years, both of your work in Rage and your work for workers rights since.
P.S. — rock stars don’t get special treatment at The 5 Point. We couldn’t give less of a shit. Sorry.
And P.S.S. — I’m the owner of the 5 Point and have worked to raise the minimum wage in Seattle and support the same nationally, worked to get paid sick days law in Seattle, and am supporting a City sponsored retirement plan for employees of small businesses. I hope you do the same for your employees on the road…
P.S.S.S. — turns out he and his crew didn’t get let in as the place was at capacity and there was a line. No one was being let in. According to our doorman who I totally trust, Tom and his crew were all totally rude. Quote from the door guys “I knew who he was, we had no room, his whole party was being rude. He wanted a special room in the back. Clearly had no ideas what it is like inside. I’ve told bigger rock stars than him no.
And now the whole thing is taking on a life of its own online, with a lot of people attacking Morello, who fancies himself a champion of the common man, for being just another entitled rock star. Just google “Pancake Gate” and you’ll see what I mean. (Apparently, Morello was in search of pancakes.)
I, obviously, have no idea what happened, but I think it’s reasonable enough to assume that Morello may have tried to get his group into the popular restaurant unsuccessfully, and, then stormed off in a huff to a nearby IHOP. And that, actually, isn’t my problem with this whole thing. As distasteful as it is, I don’t really have a problem with Morello trying to get a table for his friends, if that’s what happened. What I have a problem with is the fact that he took to Twitter and called the restaurant’s owner out for being anti-worker without knowing the facts. (If he really felt that the guy was “anti-worker,” why was he wanting to eat there in the first place?) Clearly he was pissed off, and he lashed out with a label that he thought would hurt the guy, and his business. He flexed his fame muscles in hopes of hurting the guy. And I don’t think that’s cool… Even if the staff of the restaurant was incredibly rude, someone in Morello’s position should know better.
update: Morello has now come out with his side of the story, saying that the door guy wouldn’t let them in, even though there was no line, and people kept leaving. He also implies that racism may have played a role… “I question what underlying motives the doorman may have had. Bad day? Anti-Kenyan? Preferred the Spin Doctors?” (Morello’s brother, who is Kenyan, was in entourage.)