CHICAGO (CBS) — A Highland Park deli is under fire after a controversial Facebook post featured a Nazi cartoon character.
The post stirred up strong emotions on the North Shore and online. CBS 2’s Charlie De Mar spoke with the deli’s owner, who drew the cartoon.
Greg Morelli of Max’s Deli says he wanted to simply start a conversation after the protests in Charlottesville. As it turns out, he did, in fact, get a conversation going, as well as a whole lot more.
“I’ve barely slept,” Morelli said. “So of course I knew it was bombastic, and I was afraid it was on my website for less than an hour and this entire ripple… less than one hour.”
Morelli posted the cartoon to a Jewish high holiday’s food menu depicting a frowning Nazi soldier wearing a shirt that reads “I’m with Alt-right.”
He says his inspiration for the post was last month’s clash between White supremacists and counter protesters in Charlottesville, Virginia, saying, “This is a democracy, and you have to have uncomfortable conversations.”
The online conversation ignited, and a rush of comments immediately started pouring in, with some calling the post disgraceful and offensive. Some vowed to boycott the deli.
“I’m afraid, but I’m more afraid of saying nothing when I’m afraid.” Morelli said.
Rabbi Evan Moffic of Congregation Solel in Highland Park said “We Jews became very sensitive after Charlottesville to expressions of anti-antisemitism. He [Morelli] just didn’t go about that in the most thoughtful way, but his motives reflect some of the fear of the Jewish community.”
“And anyone that’s hurt and upset, you should be. I’m just wearing a mask right now, trust me, I’m very upset. I’m just trying to put on a brave face.”
Morelli says members of his own family are having trouble understanding the post. But he invited anyone who might disagree with him to come into the deli, sit down and talk about it.