Twitter users are calling for people to #BoycottIHOP after an image of a sign posted inside an IHOP restaurant in Wasilla, Arkansas went viral for incorrectly blaming President Biden for giving out “free money” and leaving the restaurant understaffed.
In the image, the sign reads: “Due to the fact that Biden gave out way to [sic] much free money and nobody wants to work anymore. We are forced to reduce our hours during the week.” The original image, posted Dec. 9, can be found on Reddit, captioned “We walked out.” The original poster’s account, @Ok_Morning925, has since been deleted.
On Dec. 12, #BoycottIHOP started trending on Twitter.
“I will never eat at IHOP again. Who’s with me? #BoycottIHOP,” tweeted @snackdaddy1972.
“Or you could pay a #LivingWage, @IHOP, as they do at restaurants in Europe. #BoycottIHOP,” tweeted @mcnorski.
In the United States, employers can pay direct wages as low as $2.13 per hour if the worker gets enough in tips to meet the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour.
Many users also pointed out that the sign was inaccurate. It was during President Trump’s—not President Biden’s—term that the stimulus checks started going out.
“When you accept 43 PPP loans and still blame Biden #BoycottIHOP,” tweeted @pe62050408.
According to ProPublica’s Tracking PPP project—a database that tracks every company that was approved for the Paycheck Protection Program, which are federal loans meant to help companies during the pandemic’s economic effects—IHOP received 43 loans starting from April 2020. Apparently, most IHOP locations are individually owned franchises.
A representative for IHOP told the Daily Dot that the sign was posted last month at a franchised location in Wasilla, Arkansas and “was immediately removed after we were made aware. This was an unauthorized act of one individual and does not represent the viewpoints of IHOP or the local Franchisee.”
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*First Published: Dec 13, 2021, 6:17 pm CST
Kathleen is a Honolulu-based freelance writer, editor and communications strategist who has been published by the New York Times, Vice, Huffington Post, Hana Hou!, and more. She’s worked in the communication departments at the Honolulu Museum of Art, ACLU of Hawaii and Hawaii Community Foundation. When she’s not writing, she can be found in the ocean, walking her rescue poi dog or oil painting.