A restaurant owner in Boise, Idaho, is in trouble for wearing a shark costume on a promotional video that included painting his face black to resemble the inside of a shark’s mouth. Some people are likening it to blackface and are calling for his business and family to be harassed.
Brad Breakell, the owner of PizzalChik, made a name for himself in Northwest Boise for producing off-the-wall videos to promote his restaurant’s weekend specials on Facebook. According to IdahoNews, Breakell dresses up as a different character to draw attention to his promotions.
The controversial character this time around, which he nicknamed Jacklyn Jaws, drew negative attention to his business and accusations of racism. He put on black makeup to mask his face, which took the place of the shark’s gaping maw.
“There was no intent of being blackface,” Breakell told KMVT. “People said, ‘Do you know what blackface is?’ Of course I know what blackface is. But because I’m so not that way, it didn’t even cross my mind.”
The video drew heat from the popular “Social Justice Warriors” Facebook page, and negative comments and reviews from thousands of its followers.
Breakell told the media that his family—including his children—were harassed over the costume from social justice activists, who “doxed” Breakell’s personal information.
“My children have taken harassing phone calls,” he said. “People have been phoning and ordering hundreds and hundreds of dollars’ worth of pizza with no intent to come down to pick any of this stuff up.”
He was forced to remove the video from Facebook following the backlash and posted an apology video for offending people. Breakell says that he will acknowledge the sensitivity of others on social media and give his future characters additional thought.