This article originally appeared on VICE US
The Instagram feed for Yuzu, a Japanese-themed bar in Lakewood, Ohio, is mostly a combination of memes, screenshots of tweets, and lightly vaporwave interpretations of their menu options. There are also occasional photos of food, possibly so you can distinguish between Yuzu and @beigecardigan, or from your nephew whose long-term goals all involve Juul pods.
But the danger of living That Meme Life is that sometimes you lose the ability to distinguish between what’s dank and what’s not, and the next thing you know, you’re writing a 330-word sort-of-apology trying to explain why you thought that Instagram story describing a bag of fentanyl pills as a potential brunch special was “relatable content.”
Over the weekend, Yuzu posted a picture of a bag of white pills, added a Captain Crunch-style sticker that read “OOPS! All Fentanyl” and topped it with the text “New Brunch Special? Sat & Sun 11:3 [sic] - 3P.” According to Cleveland.com, it took the restaurant three days to realize that it might’ve crossed a line, and it wrote a lengthy Facebook post trying to explain its decision to joke about fentanyl in Ohio, which has more opioid-related overdose deaths than all but two other states.
“There’s a lot of debate about the content of our social media channels lately. First, it’s never our intention to cause any malicious offense, and for that I do genuinely apologize for,” restaurant owner Dave Bumba wrote on Facebook. “There’s a generational gap of humor; our target demo is 21 to 34 [...] Younger generations have developed a different sense of humor that more abstract, surreal, and darker than previous generations. A lot of the content created by them is a rejection of the status quo. Did your parents ever ‘get’ your humor growing up? They probably found it strange, confusing, and sometimes offensive too.”
Bumba continued for two more paragraphs, promising that, going forward, the restaurant’s sosh meeds would still have “relatable content,” but it would be “socially right” for its demographic. “This does not mean a sterile boring sanitation of our social content,” he continued. “But moving forward I will make it a personal investment to approve content that carries our unique voice with a more positive message.” (Or... you could just serve food?)
Reaction to the post was mixed. As of this writing, only two of Yuzu’s recent Yelp reviews mention it, and both reviewers say that the post was enough to keep them from returning back to the restaurant. On Facebook, some commenters questioned the restaurant’s need to flex on social media, others called out the ageism in the apology, and another assortment shook their heads at everyone who was “offended” by the situation.
“If people are getting offended by your ads, they're people you don't want to serve anyway, stay close to your roots and continue to do it your way, or else the masses will dumb down what you've built,” a man named Eric wrote. “Be an Eminem, not a nickelback.” (Or, don’t be either one?)
According to the Columbus Dispatch, Ohio had a record 4,854 fatal drug overdoses in 2017, a 20 percent increase from the previous year. Fentanyl was responsible for 75 percent of those deaths, a 46 percent increase from 2016. “Fentanyl is being mixed with all kinds of street drugs,” a spokesperson for Columbus Public Health said. “Often someone overdoses and doesn’t even realize they took fentanyl. If you are using anything, it can have fentanyl in it, and it’s deadly.”
None of that really works as a meme, though.