On the morning of April 10th, 2018, it was brought to our attention, a couple of videos posted by The Amherst Area Chamber of Commerce on Facebook, promoting an event named “Margarita Madness”. Later that same morning, the videos were taken down, after a strong wave of reactions, comments, and messages, addressing the levels of racism, ignorance, cultural appropriation, disrespect, cultural insensitivity, and entitlement. However, that was more a damage control move, to eliminate any evidence, and pretend nothing happened.
You can watch one of the videos posted by the Amherst Area Chamber of Commerce, featuring Youssef Fadel.
Facebook video captured by Neftalí Durán
There has been no official statement from the AACoC, regarding their ignorance, and the racist, entitled, cultural innappropriate, offensive, and badly produced video. Such silence is deafening.
After this editorial was shared on the Facebook Event of Margarita Madness, on April 11th at 10:30 AM, Lindsey Matarazzo, the lady in one of the videos, posted the following statement:
“This is Lindsey from Russell’s Liquors. I understand that I have offended a community with my recent post promoting Margarita Madness. I would like to apologize to all those who took offense to my video, it was by no means meant to offend anyone, and for that I am sorry. Putting my business aside, I write this as a women and an individual who believes all deserve their voice to be heard. I have read and heard all that you have said and I respect the pride and love that you have for your culture. I hope those that I have offended will accept my sincere apology and know that I will use this as a learning experience for all my future endeavors.”
As a reply, we invited Ms. Matarazzo to “keep the communication open for a further dialog that could broaden the understanding of our multicultural environment”, thanking her for coming forward, and owning and acknowledging the impact of the video.
At this point, the AACoC continues silent, feeling that those offensive videos being taken down, and the cringing image on the event displaying an old caucasian lady, holding a margarita, wearing a sombrero, being replaced for a generic margarita glass and the name of the event would be enough. Damage control, yet no intentions of ownership nor acknowlegdment.