A look at what's going on in Trinidad, on H Street, and in the larger area north of Capitol Hill.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

WP: DC Orders Dirty Asian Punch Off Pug Menu

Mike DeBonis has the scoop behind the forced removal of Marion Barry's Dirty Asian Summer Punch from the menu at the Pug (1234 H Street). Owner Tony Tomelden, whose father was half Filipino, added the punch to the menu after Marion Barry made some pretty offensive comments (video here) this past Spring about Asian business owners and their "dirty shops," Shortly after that Barry complained there were too many Filipino nurses in DC. Though some Pug customers were offended by the punch, the point of the of the drink was pretty clearly to skewer Marion Barry's racist statements, rather than to propagate racial stereotypes.

The DC government, however, was not amused and informed Tomelden that he was violating DC's Human Rights Act. That could have subjected him to a fine of up to $10,000. So while the punch is gone, the Pug remains.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm sorry, the owner of the Pug was in violation of the city's human rights act? Barry is the one who made such disgusting comments in the first place and actually meant them. Why isn't he being fined $10K and kicked off the council? It is utterly ridiculous that man is still in office and not rotting in a jail somewhere...

Sep 12, 2012, 2:13:00 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Can they just name it Marion Barry is a racist MFer...punch?

Disgusted with Marion Barry

Sep 12, 2012, 2:20:00 PM

Anonymous Hillman said...

So we can expect this same commission to go after the Redskins next?

Redskins is a slur. No matter how much we pretend it isn't.

I guess the DC Human Rights Commission most just goes after those that don't have a trillion dollars to fight them?

But beyond that, the Pug did the right thing in not standing up for their First Amendment freedoms.

DC is DC. If the Pug had fought and won, the powers that be in DC would have harassed the Pug, would have found some bogus way to revoke their liquor license, etc., and would have eventually put them out of business over this.

Like it or not that's how DC operates.

Also worth noting that Marion Barry, who actually used the phrase for real instead of as an obvious joke, suffered no real consequences for his statements.

He didn't lose any chairmanships. He certainly didn't lose his office.

All he got were a few tepid 'oh my he shouldn't have said that' statements from Mayor Gray and others.

What they should have done is strip him of his chairmanships, as that's Barry's real power these days.

But I do have to say the drawing was too much. The actual drink and it's name were fine. The drawing, in my opinion, was unfortunate and inappropriate.

Sep 12, 2012, 2:21:00 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry, native Americans don't vote in large enough numbers in DC, so of course some third-tier DC agency isn't going to go after Snyder, et al.

I suspect the real crime here was that Marion Berry was the target of the lampoon. And even though he's a washed-up, cracked-out aged sot, he still has some power in this town.

Sep 12, 2012, 2:53:00 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

One day, Marion Barry will be gone.

Sep 12, 2012, 2:59:00 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The council is a disgrace...nuff said

Sep 12, 2012, 4:16:00 PM

Anonymous MJ said...

I'm going to be kinda contrary and say good on Tony & co. for taking it down. Yes, the real/original transgressions was Barry's. yes, there are bigger fish to fry and more offensive things to rail against. Yes, this was more amusing than offensive once you understand the context. But that's the problem- the context isn't obvious, and if you just arrived in DC and stepped into the Pug, you'd take a look at that sign and say "whoa" unless you're Andy Rooney in 1950. Mildly amusing, easy to interpret as racist out of context, ran it's course (and a lot of DCers have probably forgotten about the original incident that sparked it), time to take it down.

Sep 12, 2012, 4:37:00 PM

Blogger heyktb said...

i agree with 2:20...call the drink "marion's a racist mf'er punch" as as a substitute. i'll order one.
in lieu of that, can we PLEASE just vote that letch out of office once and for all!

Sep 12, 2012, 4:49:00 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Human Rights Act," not "Human Right's Act."

Sep 12, 2012, 6:41:00 PM

Anonymous happy camper said...

"dirty" in a bar context also refers to an alcoholic drink (as contrasted with virgin, which signifies non-alcoholic). someone might see that drink name and think it just means the asian punch with alcohol favored by marian barry. ha.

ps: of course this is selective enforcement. but if you're going to go against a powerful pol in any town, there are consequences. try making a drink ridiculing daley in chicago and see where that gets you.

Sep 12, 2012, 10:36:00 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Rename it: "B!tch set me up!"

Sep 13, 2012, 8:11:00 AM

Anonymous 4th and G said...

Does Dangerously Delicious Pie still have the Marionberry Pie? The rock candy on the crust not only balances the acidity of the berries, but it also offers tasty political commentary.

Why would the Human Rights Commission go after the Pug and not the Pie? Seems inconsistent... or does the Human Rights Commission simply prefer its satire to be more in your face?

Sep 13, 2012, 8:30:00 AM

Anonymous H Man said...

Huh? 4th and G...exactly what would you say the Human Right Commission would find offensive about the Marrionberry pie?

Here is the description from DDP website: "Marrionberries from the Pacific Northwest topped with a generous portion of Rock Candy"

Sep 13, 2012, 10:33:00 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I suspect that what the Human Rights Commission is going after is not the Marion Barry portion but rather the "Dirty Asian punch" portion of the name.

I think that they are useless for going after the Pug and not the inspiration of the name. That said, they joke is probably played out at this point so it is time to change it.

Sep 13, 2012, 12:36:00 PM

Anonymous yippeekyyay motherfather said...

no country for racist jokes.

it might be different if the pug were asian owned.

probably owned by a bunch of hipsters, who always miss the point, as part of their hipster nature.

Sep 13, 2012, 12:38:00 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

yippeekyyay motherfather wrote "it might be different if the pug were asian owned."

I can't tell if this is ignorant or ironic. As David St. Hubbins said, "there's such a fine line between stupid and clever."

Sep 13, 2012, 12:55:00 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

yippeekyyay motherfather's comment seems to troll like.

Sep 13, 2012, 1:42:00 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

@yippeekyyay motherfather - read the article--the bar IS Asian-owned.

Sep 13, 2012, 3:57:00 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

@yippeekyyay motherfather - you obviously are a troll if you don't know who Tony T is....which is obvious by your dumb comment. He's been an icon on the Hill since the 80s and is one of the most respected business owners around. Go back to the 'burbs where you belong.


Sep 13, 2012, 4:53:00 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tony T,
You should just change the name to Marion Barry's Night Owl Punch! DC folks will get the joke.

-Fron your friends in the gated compound

Sep 13, 2012, 5:02:00 PM

Anonymous Thomas Paine said...

R.I.P., our beloved friend, Free Speech.

Sep 13, 2012, 6:45:00 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Love you, Tony T. Any dumb ass in the area knows you are the least racist, most accepting and gracious guy on the planet. Keep mixing the drinks and stirring the controversy..if anything I'd say you helped shed a light on the corrupt.

Sep 14, 2012, 9:37:00 PM


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