RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE guitarist Tom Morello has denied that he requested "special treatment" from a Seattle restaurant over the weekend, claiming instead that the eatery's doorman may have had "underlying motives" that eventually led to a war of words to erupt between the parties over the Internet.
Following his performance Friday night (September 26) at the El Corazon as part of a benefit concert for 15 Now, the grassroots organization that successfully fought for a $15 minimum wage in Seattle, Morello and his entourage tried to get into The 5 Point Cafe but were apparently turned away, causing the musician to take to his Twitter and blast the restaurant, writing: "Five Point restaurant in Seattle is the WORST. Super rude & anti-worker. Shittiest doorman in the Northwest. Prick. Spread the word."
David Meinert, the owner of The 5 Point Cafe, released a response to Tom's tweet in which he insisted that his establishment was "totally pro worker" and claimed that Tom and his crew "wanted a special room in the back" even though the restaurant "was at capacity and there was a line" of people waiting to get in. He added that "rock stars don't get special treatment at The 5 Point. We couldn't give less of a shit."
Earlier tonight, Morello released the following statement regarding Friday's incident:
"I regret that my Twitter salvo about the treatment I received at a Seattle restaurant and the subsequent digital tempest in a tea pot may have taken away from the important work of those organizing for a $15 minimum wage and the Seattle show I played on their behalf.
"When next in Seattle, I would be happy sit down over a beverage — or sooner on the phone — and discuss the matter to conclusion with all concerned. The restaurant, the incident and my bruised feelings don't matter. What does matter is the hard, tireless work put in by those committed to fighting for a more just world.
"If interested however here is the non-140-character blow by blow of the 'Encounter At The 5 Point Cafe':
"Our team of musicians flew to Seattle for a benefit show for 15 Now, the grassroots campaign to raise the minimum wage to $15. I've long been a supporter of this particular campaign as well as the national drive for a living wage.
"The show itself at the former Off Ramp went great. I was reunited with former AUDIOSLAVE band mate Chris Cornell for the first time in years, and together with the raucous crowd, it was really a special evening. A good deal of money was raised for the 15 Now cause and we wandered into the Seattle late night happy... and hungry.
"Two of our hosts from 15 Now, a band mate of mine, a woman from management, and my brother from Kenya comprised our party. Someone suggested Five Point, a spot I remember fondly from back in the day. I had some reservations because one of our 15 Now friends said that while the owner was a good guy and treated staff well, the restaurant itself was on 'the wrong side of the minimum-wage issue' and had attempted to water down the $15 mininum wage legislation by drawing out the implementation period and adjusting for tips to make it more palatable to small businesses. I am 100% on the side of an undiluted 15 Now initiative which is in my view the only 'pro worker' position, but hey, we were hungry, so let's give it a shot.
"The restaurant was packed and spirited and we asked the doorman 'party of 6 for dinner?' He said they were at capacity and it would probably be a 10-minute wait. No problem. Then ten people or so left the restaurant. 'Can we come in now? Those people just left.' No. 'Why?' I'm not letting anyone in. 'Wait a second. Are you at capacity or are you not letting anyone in?' I'm not letting you in. 'So you're no longer at capacity but we can't come in?' No. 'Um ok. How about we order take out and sit at one of these 20 empty tables outside?' No. 'Ok what's really going on here dude? Some of us have traveled a long way. He's from Kenya! I'm from the '90s!' I'm not letting you in. 'Say, is your manager here? Maybe he's a RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE fan? He might even raise your pay to $15 an hour!' More people leave the restaurant. It's clearly under capacity. Then our friends see that inside the restaurant several tables are occupied by friends of ours from 15 Now. 'Hey look we don't even need a table. We'll just join our friends who are already inside?' No. 'Really? Why not?" I'm not letting you in. 'Can we just go TALK to them and see if they have room for us?' No. It was like a hipster version of a Studio 54 doorman. At that point, my band mate made a flavorful declaration and we decamped to the trusty, attitude-free, IHOP where we enjoyed a drama-free stack of hotcakes.
"To be clear: at no point did myself or anyone in our party 'demand special treatment,' a 'private room' or any other ridiculousness. I was, however, pissed at the rudeness of the doorman to my friends and my younger brother — of whom I'm quite protective. I question what underlying motives the doorman may have had. Bad day? Anti-Kenyan? Preferred the SPIN DOCTORS?
"Whatever the cause, it is unfortunate that MY actions in response have diverted attention from the great work done by 15 Now. 'Twitter bitching' is counterproductive as it invites grossly misinformed conjecture not easily dispelled in 140 characters. Lesson learned.
"As I've said before, Seattle is truly an advanced society with its $15 minimum wage, its legal pot, its gay marriage, its great music and its Seattle Seahawks.
"Next time we'll call ahead."
After Morello posted the above message, Meinert himself took to Facebook and offered the following response:
"Maybe he was 'Anti-Kenyan'?? Ok, enough, Tom. That's fucked up. Stop trying to portray the doorperson as a racist. That really sucks and is crazy abusive.
"Done with you.
"Maybe you don't realize you were acting the punk, but you were.
"Just because 10 people leave a place doesn't mean the place still isn't over capacity. Ugh.
"You should really STFU.
"I was totally willing to put an end to this but now you're really actually pissing me off.
And I tried to 'water down' the minimum wage by asking for a tip credit with a $10 base with increases tied to the CPI? Get it right, man. You're looking ignorant.
"Next time, don't call, IHOP is glad to take your money and donate it to right-wing politicians so keep going there and supporting the very thing you claim to rage against.