Saturday, June 22, 2024

UPDATED Famed Restaurateur Keith McNally Deletes Offending Post About Hamas After 5,000 Wildly Negative Reactions Threatened Business, Apologizes Twice


Social media is like playing with toxic chemicals — say the wrong thing, by accident, and there will be an explosion.

Balthazar restaurant owner Keith McNally blew up his Instagram account over the weekend when he posted what seemed like a conciliatory message to Hamas. McNally wrote: “The More Utterly Repugnant The Facts, The Greater The Responsibility Becomes To Listen To The Other Side.”


Nearly 5,000 replies came in and none of them were good. Most threatened to never return to his restaurants in New York, London, and Miami including Balthazar, Pastis, and Morandi. Reservations were being cancelled by the boatload.

Leading the way was Jessica Seinfeld, wife of comedian Jerry, who was infuriated, she said, especially since the couple had gotten engaged at Balthazar.

McNally was slow to respond but finally did around 3am Eastern today. He deleted the post and apologized, saying he did not support Hamas, they were a terrorist organization, and that he never supported them.

But some damage has been done. The NY Post quickly elicited comments denouncing McNally’s original post from his partners.

Yesterday McNally told the Post: “I stand by what i wrote this morning: THE MORE UTTERLY REPUGNANT THE FACTS, THE GREATER THE RESPONSIBILITY TO LISTEN TO T HE OTHER SIDE. This doesn’t mean forgive. This doesn’t mean not retaliate. It simply means listen. There’s nothing to lose by listening. Nothing whatsoever.”

Will the deletion and apology be enough to appease McNally’s outraged diners? We won’t know until dawn breaks. But I do think McNally simply used words badly. He has quite a bit of Jewish blood in his DNA, something he’s only started to embrace in recent years after a debilitating stroke almost killed him.


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A post shared by Keith McNally (@keithmcnallynyc)

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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