A Maryland seafood restaurant was swarmed by protesters over the weekend, forcing all five locations to close throughout the state. Vince's Crab House became a target for protests after posts went viral, showing racist comments by owner Vince Meyer across social media.
Meyer could not be reached for comment on Sunday according to the Capital Gazette and the Facebook pages for the eatery were taken down by Sunday night. This didn't stop protesters of the restaurant, joining the nationwide Black Lives Matter protests in the wake of the death of George Floyd.
Stop supporting Vince’s Crab house! pic.twitter.com/xyHAhqPExD— Boaz /G\ 357 Ω (@Boaz212) June 6, 2020
The racial messages were passed on social media, including a June 1 post that commented on the protests and looting in Minneapolis. Many took screenshots of the messages and have since plastered them online.
"There is one place I bet the protesters/rioters won't light on fire or break into or even block the road to .... the social services buildings," Meyer wrote, including four laughing emoji at the close of the comment.
Kellie Vaughn helped to organize the protests of Vince's Crab House after seeing the messages. Still, word quickly spread on Saturday and a large mob of people surrounded the Middle River, Maryland location. According to the Capital Gazette, these demonstrators were angry, shaking doors and threatening staff, leading to the doors being padlocked by Sunday.
VINCE, F*CK OUTTA HERE!!!! Save it. You said what you said. pic.twitter.com/rmMQZ8XhsN— Yas👄 (@lovebombie) June 6, 2020
Meyer released a video apology after the messages went viral, trying to clarify the racist posts, apologize for his actions and to call out harassment he had received since the posts went viral.
"I went to bed what I thought was an honest business owner and woke up being demonized and just being called a straight-up racist," Meyer said in another video posted before his apology. He also added that some of the comments were from ten years prior and that he was open to dialogue with mad residents, claiming he was not racist and opened businesses in the black community.
Apart from the comments on the protests posted on June 1, Meyer also said that he hoped George Zimmerman was found not guilty in the killing of Trayvon Martin. He also referred to someone making a "good slave" in another comment.
Protesters descended on a Baltimore County crab house today to confront owner over racist social media posts. @VincesCrabHouse in Middle River has a customer base that’s “75% black people” according to the owner Vince Meyer. https://t.co/z7SxpycDvi #BlackLivesMatter #Baltimore— AprilDRyan (@AprilDRyan) June 6, 2020
According to the Capital Gazette, police were on the scene shortly after the grouping on Saturday and made checks on Sunday for the few protesters that did show up. A sign posted on the door of one location that read, "Closed due to unexpected problem. Will keep you posted."