ELIZABETH CITY, N.C. (WAVY) – An Elizabeth City restaurant is getting a lot of attention, but not for its food.
One of the owners is coming under fire for racially-charged posts that are circulating on social media.
10 On Your Side spoke with the co-owner who said the posts are not what they seem.
The restaurant in question is named Just Wings and the posts appear to portray black customers in a negative light.
Many in the community are outraged. However, the owner says there’s an explanation – he believes he was hacked.
Day after day, Al Ortiz serves up chicken wings at his restaurant. Now he’s accused of serving up controversy.
“I haven’t wrote anything derogatory towards any people,” Ortiz said.
Ortiz is talking about a post from his personal Facebook page that says he only trusts his white customers.
10 On Your Side asked Ortiz if he wrote the post.
“No. My Facebook posts have been taken and been altered,” he said. “I think my page was hacked.”
Ortiz said he did previously make a post praising white customers.
“Is it against the law to say you like white people?” Ortiz asked.
However, he said someone later hacked his account and changed the wording of his post to show what’s now being shared online.
The alleged hacker also added a comment saying, “If I get robbed, it will be a black person.”
10 On Your Side once again asked Ortiz if made any such comments.
“No, ma’am. I have had bad experiences with black people and I’ve had good experiences with black people,” he said.
The posts caught the attention of City Councilman Darius Horton who sent Ortiz a letter saying “these types of vocal statements will not be tolerated.”
Horton also called for a public apology.
Ortiz said people are spreading altered pictures of the storefront online.
He is half black himself and said he’s not sure why someone would want to hurt his reputation.
Ortiz wants the community to know he has no hate for any skin color.
“I apologize to anybody who was offended,” Ortiz said. “I love all people, period. I don’t prefer any race over the other.”
Ortiz said he’s had several customers order food as a show of support for the business.
He has deleted his Facebook page for the time being.