Bar Owner Apologizes For 'Offensive' Sign That Sparked Outrage

Photo Credit: Northern Ontario

A sign posted in front of the Centre Ice Bar and Grill in the Community First Soo Pee Wee Arena in Sault Ste. Marie late last week sparked online controversy, and the sign was slammed by many social media users.

The sign read: "Black Olives Matter. Try Our New Flat Bread Pizza."

The owner of the bar, Tony Coccimiglio, apologized for the sign on the bar’s Facebook page, writing: "As the owner of the locally owned Centre Ice Bar and Grill I sincerely apologize for any misunderstanding (sic) I have caused with the wording of my sign. I was trying to make light of a very sensitive situation. I immediately took the sign down as soon as it was brought to my attention that the wording may be offensive to some. I was only wanting to promote my new pizza line. I have supported our community for the last 10 years and I hope you as a community continue to support my business. I am not a racist and I will never be a racist and again I am truly sorry."

Photo Credit: Northern Ontario

In response to the sign, the African Caribbean Canadian Association of Northern Ontario (ACCANO) wrote: "African Caribbean Canadian Association of Northern Ontario (ACCANO) members are extremely disheartened with the mockery of the Black Lives Matter movement indirectly messaged in an advertisement billboard that was erected last week. To make light of a movement that concerns itself with ensuring that like all lives, Black lives matter too, is appalling."

Both Tony Coccimiglio and ACCANO declined to talk to CTV News about the sign.

Photo Credit: Northern Ontario

Coccimiglio maintained that he had written everything he wanted to say on the Facebook page.

ACCANO stated that its members were hoping to meet with Coccimiglio before they spoke to the media about the issue.

Sources: Northern Ontario