Obama hugger gets online beating

2012-09-11 10:01
President Barack Obama is picked-up and lifted off the ground by Scott Van Duzer owner of Big Apple Pizza and Pasta Italian Restaurant, during an unannounced stop. (AP, File)

President Barack Obama is picked-up and lifted off the ground by Scott Van Duzer owner of Big Apple Pizza and Pasta Italian Restaurant, during an unannounced stop. (AP, File)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

kalahari.com

  • The Amateur
    A gripping read that reveals never before published details about the Obama administration's... Now R321.00
    buy now

Washington - An American pizza restaurant owner who was photographed giving President Barack Obama a hearty bear hug got an online beating on Monday from angry opponents of the US leader.

Scott Van Duzer, owner of Big Apple Pizza and Pasta Italian Restaurant in Fort Pierce, Florida, made headlines on Sunday after he lifted Obama in the air as the two men greeted each other like old buddies during a campaign tour stop.

Footage of the moment in the key swing state soon went viral.

But, along with the laughs, the incident also sparked sneers.

Comments posted on Yelp, a website that allows consumers to rate businesses, lambasted Van Duzer and suggested the photo opportunity was set up by Democrats vying to secure a second term in the White House.

"I would NEVER eat here after seeing that idiot grab the man that thinks HE built my business instead of me," wrote Shawn from California, referring to a common allegation that Obama does not understand private enterprise.

Guideline violations

"And NO WAY did this bear hug just happen. It was planned for weeks. If Obama showed up at my business, he would be shown the door."

"Do you honestly believe this wasn't staged? The secret service would never let anyone grab Obama let alone pick him up off the ground," echoed DS from Spokane, Washington.

"Another BS photo op to try and prove he is looking out for the little guy."

Other reviews, including one by Mike A, were taken offline for violating the Yelp's content guidelines.

"I'd eat there but after seeing the owner grab our leftist President I felt compelled to disrespect his establishment as much as the President disrespects our constitution," CBS News quoted Mike A as saying.

As word spread of the critical posts, a counter-offensive took hold.

'Get a life'

By the late afternoon on Monday, entries were abuzz with positive feedback for Van Duzer, and calls on those criticising him to call it quits.

"Giving you five stars for being a human being before anything else - democratic or republican," wrote Pepper T from Santa Rosa, California.

"For someone to give you a low rating because you hugged President Obama is a reflection of the sad state of this country."

Rich T of Los Angeles, meanwhile, claimed that the negative reviews came from individuals who have never eaten at the establishment but "have an irrational hatred of President Obama".

"Get a life, people!" he added.

Van Duzer himself seemed to be taking the stir in his stride, telling CNN that he was moved by Obama's visit.

No party line voter

"I was extremely honoured and touched and it was an incredible day," he said.

"This could have been just another stop on his bus tour ... it felt like he wanted to come here, he wanted to make a difference in our daily life here and he did."

Obama said he had stopped his black armoured bus at the pizza shop as Van Duzer had mobilised a huge community blood donors operation, receiving commendations from the White House and the US surgeon general.

Many negative reviews appeared to have been triggered when Van Duzer told reporters that he had voted for Obama in 2008 and planned to do so again in November - despite being registered with the rival Republican Party.

"I don't vote party line, I vote who I feel comfortable with, and I do feel extremely comfortable with him," Van Duzer said.

Read more on:    barack obama  |  us  |  us elections 2012
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
11 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
 
Traffic
Lottery
 
  • Thursday Hermanus - 10:13 AM
    Road name: R43 Eastbound
    HEAVY DELAYS between Hermanus and Stanford due to holiday traffic volumes
  • Thursday Caledon - 10:04 AM
    Road name: R316 Westbound
    HEAVY DELAYS between the R326 Highway and Caledon due to holiday traffic volumes
 
More traffic reports...
 

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Escape winter, head to Mauritius

Escape winter by spending 7 nights in Mauritius' tropical bliss from R13 215 per person sharing. Includes return flights, airport transfers and accommodation. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Get many eggs in one basket!

Gaming bundles: 2 Super Hits games for R99, 3 Disney games for R99 and more + exclusive accessory bundles only available on kalahari.com. While stocks last. Shop now!

25% off bestselling books!

The Real Meal Revolution by Tim Noakes, Jeffrey Archer’s Be Careful What You Wish for, Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor E. Frank and many more titles. Shop now!

Up to 25% off electronics

Buy top electronics and save up to 25%. Such as kalahari.com’s 1# selling product the gobii eReader, Patriot X Porter flash drive, Asus Nexus 7” 3G tablet, Samsung Galaxy SIII, Lenovo G580 Notebook and many more. Shop now!

DStv HD PVR Decoder now R949

The DStv HD PVR Decoder has further revolutionised the television experience with lifelike viewing, sharper images, more vibrant colours and precision picture quality. Now R949, save R550. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 30% off appliances & homeware

Save up to 30% on appliances and homeware this Easter! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now.

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

BlackBerry Bold 9780

BlackBerry 6 Engage your world with BlackBerry 6 OS on the...

From R3049.00

I'm shopping for:

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

You may be required to travel or get information for your job. This may be restricting in some way or something may slow things...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.