Politics

Margolis: Firing of Uno’s white nationalist pizza cook was an overreach

A screenshot from Vice report on the white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, shows Burlington resident Ryan Roy, 28, carrying a torch and chanting.

Editor’s note: Jon Margolis is VTDigger’s political columnist.

Robert Burns, you should be living at this hour. Vermont could have used you this week. We have our own “unco guid.”

That’s the “rigidly righteous” in more common English, those who see themselves “Sae (so) pious and sae holy,” they’ve “naught to do but mark and tell Your neibors fauts and folly.”

OK, there’s a bit of un-poetic license being taken here. When he wrote his “Address to the Unco Guid” in 1786, Burns was thinking less of politics than of class and religion. His “Unco Guid” were the oh-so-pure-and-pious who scorned those they considered lesser beings.

What plagues Vermont now is a coterie of puffed-up partisans who take themselves very seriously and are so convinced of their own rectitude and so determined to express themselves that they don’t care who gets hurt in the process.

But they are also our fellow citizens, so let’s treat them more gently than they treat some of their fellow citizens.

It isn’t that there was nothing to be upset about. For the first time in the memory of any living soul (or maybe ever) a president of the United States displayed an appalling ignorance of what the United States is. For the first time in decades (or ever), a president who had a chance to try to unite the country chose to do the opposite. It was enough to make a person want to do something.

But is it too much to ask that the something be tasteful and intelligent?

Apparently.

Hearing that President Donald Trump’s daughter Ivanka and her husband Jared Kushner might be headed to a wedding in or around Waitsfield, a few Vermonters decided to hold a protest vigil at the intersection of Main and Bridge streets in the center of town.

Where they might have disrupted the wedding party of a bride and groom and their families, none of whom, to anyone’s knowledge, had done diddly-squat to hurt anyone or to deserve harassment.

Ivanka Trump
Ivanka Trump. Image from Wikipedia

The wedding, it seems, was neither in nor near Waitsfield. Bungling advance work, which perhaps explains why (as shown in a photograph of the event) a mere 27 demonstrators showed up. So it was bungled politics all around. Going to the wrong place and managing only a paltry turnout are signs of ineptitude, which is politically damaging even if it allows a few to feel better about themselves. The average person looking at the confusion, the weakness and the potential annoyance of innocent people is more likely to be repelled than attracted.

But all that was mere comic incompetence. The malice came later. Thanks to the latest technology, it is possible to identify many of the participants among the white supremacist marchers in Charlottesville, Virginia, last weekend.

One Vermonter was so identified: 28-year-old Ryan Roy of Burlington, who worked as a pizza cook at Uno Pizzeria and Grill in South Burlington.

Whereupon some of Vermont’s modern version of the “unco guid” – scores? Hundreds? It makes no difference – flooded Uno’s management with tweets and emails threatening to boycott the place if Roy continued to work there.

So he was fired.

And a fat lot of good that did. Pizza’s flavor does not change in accordance with the enlightenment or lack thereof of its bakers. Racist propaganda is not transferrable through pepperoni. The world is no safer or more tolerant because Roy is unemployed. It may be less so.

There’s also the question of just where all this ends. Passions run high on all sorts of issues these days. Suppose animal rights advocates pressured private businesses to fire hunters, or hunters threatened to boycott firms that employed vegetarians. Will we come to a point where conservatives shop only at stores where none of the clerks favor Medicare for all, or liberals decline to buy from an anti-abortion shopkeeper?

Ryan Roy is a very confused fellow. He told a reporter the other day that “our country was a white country until the 1965 … Immigration Act.”

No, Mr. Roy, it was not, and according to its law and official documents it was never intended to be. The U.S. Constitution (check the 14th Amendment) says that those Mexican-, Somali- and China-born people who took their oaths of citizenship just the other day are as American as you. That “blood and soil” slogan your fellow marchers (and you?) chanted is anti-American at its core.

Here there is no mystical connection between ethnicity and citizenship. The connection is not mystical and it is not with blood. It is with ideas: political democracy, individual freedom, the rule of law, human equality.

But that’s precisely why Roy should be talked to, not injured. The talking could include criticism, some of it harsh. But getting him fired is the opposite of talking to him. It makes it harder to talk to him. Chances are that not only he but his family and his neighbors – many of whom probably do not share his racial delusions – are now more bitter at what they consider (somewhat accurately) the moderate-to-liberal establishment that cost him his livelihood.

Pizza cook may not be a great job. But it’s better than no job. Roy is better off if he has a job. You and I are better off if he has a job, too, and so are those who pressured Uno’s to fire him, whether they know it or not.

And whether they know it or not, Ryan Roy is their fellow citizen (and ours). That doesn’t protect him from being criticized. But perhaps it should protect him from being impoverished. If he is willing and able to work, let him work.

A boycott is a reasonable political tactic if the product being boycotted is unsafe or unhealthy, or if it is produced by workers who are mistreated on the job.

Threatening a boycott because an employee’s social views are repugnant is a subjective conceit. Just what can be expected from those who consider themselves “sae pious and sae holy.”

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Jon Margolis

About Jon

Jon Margolis is VTDigger's columnist. He is the author of The Last Innocent Year: America in 1964, left the Chicago Tribune early in 1995 after 23 years as Washington correspondent, sports writer, correspondent-at-large and general columnist. Margolis spent most of his Tribune years in the Washington Bureau as the newspaper’s chief national political correspondent. In 1988, he was a one of the journalists asking questions of Senators Lloyd Bentsen and Dan Quayle in their televised vice presidential debate. Before joining the Tribune in 1973, Margolis had been the Albany Bureau Chief for Newsday. He was the first reporter on the scene of the Attica prison rebellion in 1971, and spent the entire first night inside the prisoner-held “D” yard. Earlier, Margolis was a reporter for the Bergen Record in Hackensack, N.J.; the Miami Herald and the Concord Monitor (N.H.). In addition to The Last Innocent Year, published by William Morrow in 1999, he is the author of How To Fool Fish With Feathers: An Incompleat Guide to Fly Fishing (Simon and Schuster, 1991) and The Quotable Bob Dole — Witty, Wise and Otherwise, (Avon Books, 1995). He also wrote two chapters of Howard Dean: A citizens Guide to the Man Who Would be President (Steerforth, 2003). A native of New Jersey, Margolis graduated from Oberlin College in 1962. He served in the US Army.

Email: [email protected]

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  • Mary Reed

    Usually I find something with which I agree in Mr. Margolis’ commentaries. I agree that attempting to confront Ivanka and Jared Kushner when they were attending a wedding was wrong for many reasons. Some were pointed out in the commentary. That incident, however, was not the base of the thesis of this commentary. Mr. Margolis decries the firing of a pizza cook deeply, strongly attracted to, and aligned with, the ‘white supremacist’ movement. The cook’s own statements, and attendance at the Charlottesvile ‘action’, declare his beliefs about, antipathy toward, and willingness to physically engage, people who arouse his passions – hate, fear, and rage equipped with legs, arms, hands, and a brain wired to fuel thoughts and actions accordingly. Mr. Margolis suggests the cook should not have been fired for his beliefs, posits that we are all better off with him making pizza at Unos’s, and suggests he was fired for fear of a boycott based on his hateful views. That suggestion is as ludicrous as it is unsafe. Sir- do you have any idea whatsoever of the damage ‘disaffected’ food service workers can do to food before it is served to customers? As a pizza cook at Uno, the man knew full well for whom he was preparing pizza. He is very able to discern, and seems highly attuned to, the skin color, eye shape, hair, and other ‘racial features’ of those whose pizza he prepares. His hateful attitudes toward ‘un-white’ persons are known, as is his willingness to participate in hateful action. Human spit applied to a pizza before the cheese topping and baking is the very least of the degrading, insulting, hateful actions he could direct at a ‘non-white’ customer. Having such a person handling food is not safe. The restaurant made the correct decision.

    • Rich Lachapelle

      The same concerns could be made about a restaurant worker who ascribes to the more militant end of the Black Lives Matter spectrum if a white uniformed police officer is looking for some lunch. Should we also assume the worst about a devout Palestinian moslem serving food to a restaurant patron wearing a yarmulke? Assuming that someone will act out in a violent, criminal or otherwise threatening manner at their place of work based on their private political leanings is dangerous and paranoid and will result in too many unfounded suspicions to even imagine. Any “disaffected” food worker can act out at any time just as someone driving down the road can decide to use their vehicle as a weapon motivated by religious intolerance .
      If someone is espousing hateful commentary in a workplace, that can certainly create a toxic atmosphere for both co-worker and client but if someone ON THEIR OWN TIME wants to dress up in a sheet, in ladies lingerie, with clown paint or in scuba gear whose business is it anyway?
      The First Amendment has taken a serious beating in the past few weeks but is stronger than the small minds of those who see free expression as a threat.

      • patricia jedlicka

        You make an excellent point.

      • Nachman Avruch

        Your comparison is flawed – in the case of a BLM activist or a Palestinian (Muslim, not “moslem”, this isn’t 1920), making an assumption that their beliefs put others at risk would be groundless and wild speculation. Roy, however, has openly associated himself with neo-Nazi aggression that explicitly calls for black, Jewish, gay and other people to be expelled or killed to restore white dominance in the U.S. There is no contortionist extrapolation required to connect his beliefs to their violent ends.

  • Jacob Jurmain

    High ratio of emotions to insights. Tough to tell
    which motivated which.

  • Willem Post

    Gabrielle,

    A little history is useful.

    Nazi is short for National Socialist People’s Party.
    It was popular among the disaffected unemployed during the 1930’s when Germany was in deep depression, as was the US.

    Hitler was originally against them, but he needed to win so he co-opted thé movement.

    • Nachman Avruch

      I can’t imagine how you think your version of ‘history’ is useful in this discussion. What the German political party was before Hitler joined and brought it to supreme power fails to even grasp at relevance. The legacy of the Nazi party is written in the blood of tens of millions of civilian and military dead.

    • Christopher Daniels

      Well then, I guess that makes it all okay. Thanks for clearing it up.

    • Daphne Black

      Can you elaborate? I don’t get the gist of your comment. Thanks.

    • Dennis Works

      Willem Post: Not accurate. The precursor to the “Nazi Party” was the DAP, formed in 1919, from which the Nazi Party was created in 1920. Hitler was member #55 of the DAP. At the time, DAP and later the Nazi Party were very small – often drawing “crowds” of 100 or so. And note, the Nazis rarely used the term ‘Nazi’, instead calling themselves ‘National Socialists’, as the term ‘Nazi’ was considered derogatory. The technically correct terminology for the “Nazi” party is the “National Socialist German Workers’ Party” (in German: “Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei”, abbreviated NSDAP).

      Upon Hitler’s joining of DAP his oratory skills became noticed and slowly the crowds grew in size. DAP soon became the “Nazi Party” and Hitler became its Chairman in 1921. Hitler’s oratory skills were definitely one reason for the growth of the Nazi Party, as was the growing dissatisfaction of the German people with their current leadership and the economic hardships brought about by the severe restrictions & punishments imposed by the post-WWI Treaty of Versailles (and often blamed on Jews, communists, capitalists, non-Aryans, etc) – all things that Hitler emphasized in his fiery speeches.

      Anyway, it is totally inaccurate to say that Hitler “co-opted the movement” – he was actually there in the beginning and was instrumental in its rise to power.

      • Willem Post

        Dennis,

        I agree with your more detailed description.

        As you say, the “Deutsche Arbiter Partei”, DAP, was renamed the “Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei”

    • Daphne Black

      Can you expand on this. What point are you making?

  • Finn Yarbrough
  • Michael Olcott

    “If this was a religious issue, there would be different questions to be answered”
    that is something i will never understand. a person has to choose to have an imaginary friend unless they are brought up in the religion which in that case often seems like brainwashing children (like they do in the madrassa’s of the ME). that choice is the same as this mans decision to be part of the …whatever he calls his movement. ( i have heard ‘alt right’,’neo-nazi’…i give up on trying to identify these abhorrent views as anything other than that). Perhaps the religious people out there cant see the hypocrisy here but as an atheist/anti-theist it seems glaring.

    • John Klar

      Atheists are nihilists. That is glaring. The free speech and free religion clauses go together for a reason.

      • JohnGreenberg

        If glaring is supposed to mean self-evident or obvious, I beg to differ. There are plenty of historic examples of atheists who were also committed moralists: Voltaire, Mark Twain, Bertrand Russell, Jean-Paul Sartre all come to mind.

  • Peter Everett

    Since I moved to Vermont 11 years ago, I haven’t found a good pizza worth spending my money on in my area (Lamoiile County). Is there a good pizza anywhere in Vermont?

    • jan van eck

      Nope. You want serious pizza, ask Bill Clinton. He knows.

  • John Klar

    Study after study shows people of faith are in fact more law-abiding, etc. Your anti-religion hate rant is its own demonstration. Apparently you have closed the door to other points of view.

  • John Klar

    Hate groups have long enjoyed Free Speech protections, historically safe-guarded by the Left. What has changed is liberalism — now it is militant an intolerant. Book burnings soon — fascism can come from the Left as well as the Right. Thank you Mr. Margolis for reminding us of what our constitutional freedoms once were. The US Supreme Court has ruled extensively on this, but apparently we are to embrace a new (unspecified) standard for free speech. Left-wing agitators are swelling the ranks of the KKK et al. I’m not afraid of Nazis taking over the country — but those who simply wave their hand at the application of the First Amendment, those scare me. They are a bigger threat than Nazism — the convenient emotional bogeyman.

    • David Bell

      What free speech protections have been infringed on?

      The First Amendment does not protect anyone’s employment and was not violated in any way shape or form by Uno’s decision to fire a white supremacist.

      If people want to defend the First Amendment, they should take the time to learn what it actually is before anointing themselves its defenders.

      • John Klar

        This is a bit strong, and maybe you should consider taking the advice yourself. You write: “The First Amendment does not protect anyone’s employment…” Completely false — the government (fed and state are bound to respect all constitutional guarantees toward employees (42 USC 1983). See, eg, http://www.breitbart.com/big-government/2016/05/03/scotus-city-violated-cop-free-speech-rights/ (“Supreme Court: City Violated Cop’s Free Speech Rights”). I do not pretend to know the facts of the Uno case –maybe the employee spoke derogatorily toward customers. But if he were fired solely for the discovery of his unpopular political views, I believe there is precedent for his treatment (or might be under substantive due process).

    • JohnGreenberg

      ” Left-wing agitators are swelling the ranks of the KKK et al.” Please provide some evidence for this claim,

  • John Klar

    It is the most clearly presented exposition of the right to free speech. Kudos to Mr. Margolis.

    • David Bell

      Right to free speech does not mean speech without consequences. You can deliberately insult someone, they may choose to stop speaking with you, this is not a violation of free speech anymore than the act of a private business firing an employee.

      You can claim it was presented as a case of divine intervention or international espionage, that does not make it so.

  • John Klar

    “I will not accept” “I will not accept”
    Too bad for you — the First Amendment protects the speech you “will not accept.” I “will not accept” the destruction of the First Amendment by those who are utterly ignorant of what it means.

    • Mike McNally

      The 1st Amendment: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

      Is Unos congress? Did the Vermont legislature pass a law saying all self-proclaimed nazis should be thrown in jail? I don’t think so. The first amendment has not been destroyed, the abilities of jerks to get away with professing hate in our communities has been. This has been done not by law but by the steady advance of time, common sense and an increasing understanding that history repeats itself when we act like Nazis should be treated with the same politeness we show our neighbor. Jesus said turn the other cheek, he did not say “give the person who struck you a job and hang around him and give him a podium to express his views.”

  • Thomas Sperry

    Then we won’t be able to tell the violent right from the violent left.

  • Thomas Sperry

    Have you found the secret to immortality?

  • Allen Tenney

    Mr. Roy’s firing was just and not capriciously arbitrary. His Employer has to weigh cause and effect to the whole business, on both sides of the counter. Mr. Roy was probably not the only employee at Unos. Other employees could feel threatened, effecting their work, or, causing them to seek employment elsewhere. Am certain some of the Uno Restaurant’s clientele come from groups Mr. Roy and “friends” were denouncing, who could easily voice their displeasure by taking their business to a competitor. Now that would extend harm to the whole restaurant, not just “poor, picked on Mr. Roy”!!! One would hope that Mr. Roy “learned” something from this experience and begins the process of growing up, instead of continuing to blame his Prejudices as the cause of his present Misfortune…

  • Marsha E. Camp

    I wholly disagree, and wish that you had been thoughtful of, or had acknowledged your own white privilege in your pen.
    This man, Ryan Roy, seems to have forgotten that our actions speak louder than words, and there are consequences. As an employed adult, I need to question if my action in one area can threaten some other essential function of my life like my employment.

    Your concern for his unemployment is touching. Really?
    He has emails full of offers from other local white supremacists. There are lots of people who live and own businesses who believe like him. The difference is they don’t carry tiki torches, screaming about how much they hate people of color.
    Had he stayed home, he’d still be working there.

    Let’s imagine Mr. Margolis that you are a man of color living in Burlington. Would you take your family to Uno’s for pizza knowing he was a white supremacist, who believed in restoring VT to whiteness? Would you worry about your children eating his pizza. Would you feel safe there?

    There have been food boycotts for years. I for one will not shop at Walmart, buy Coors products, Koch Brothers, and if I travel I would never walk through a Hobby Lobby doorway. During the Take Back VT years, I worked to avoid businesses owned by those people as well. In the seventies I stopped by Sunkist tuna because of their killing dolphins in nets.

    Since the firing last week I feel glad to know that UNO won’t tolerate, marching and hateful white supremacists. I will go more often now.
    Marsha

  • Nachman Avruch

    Revoking his drivers license would be illegal, for good reason. Ideological screening is impractical for many reasons, and not good practice for many others. However, once someones execrable views become public knowledge – and risk intimidating and turning away both fellow employees and prospective patrons – it becomes reasonable to dismiss that person from your employ.

  • rosemariejackowski

    There is video of one of antifa throwing the first punch…. There was violence on BOTH sides…but facts don’t seem to matter much these days. BOTH sides are promising more violence today.

    Identity Politics will destroy the U$A

    • JohnGreenberg

      With all due respect, you’ve overlooked a pretty significant fact. ALL of the right-wingers came to advocate violence and to act accordingly. That was the purpose of their demonstration.

      At most, by every account I’ve seen, violent leftists constituted a tiny minority of the counter-protesters.

      Do you really believe it’s ok to equate a few individuals on one side to entire organizations on the other?

    • marina brown

      Antifa is not identity politics. They are community members protecting minorities and leftists from attacks by the far right. I just wish antifa had been more successful in the 1930’s if it had been we would not have had WWII and decades of fascism in Spain.

  • Neil Johnson

    Vermont government is not based on reality, the budget and results prove that every single year. Some one with knowledge of the human condition knows that people are inherently flawed, not good. Our founding fathers knew that which is why they build checks and balances in our government. It has nothing to do with imaginary friends, it does like you say, involve truth, logic and reason.

  • Christopher Daniels

    It’s not a tough subject. Are you saying you’d keep a self-admitted white supremacist on staff?

    I own a business. I don’t care about any of my employees politics. How they vote is none of my concern. But if one of them marched in a white supremacist parade, demonstrated vile contempt and hatred for someone based on religion or skin color, and showed absolutely no regret, I’d fire them in a heart-beat without any agonizing about slippery slope, or ‘what about this’ consideration.

  • Neil Johnson

    Actually the one that is hurt must forgive the one that hurt them. That is the beginning of actual healing, for the one that was hurt. Otherwise you bring on the Hatfields and McCoys, you bring about fighting and ultimately war.

    Forgiveness is very different than justice. If this man committed a crime he should be brought to justice.

  • Neil Johnson

    So rather than get to know people and perhaps educate them you’re going to relegate them to the septic gutters? Perhaps you had a great opportunity to change this man’s opinion, but you threw him off your property? Hate brings hate. Education brings smarter people. Love brings love.

    What I find interesting is how one person’s view is taken as every bodies. How can one persons dumb ideas be allowed to intoxicate an entire town/state/country? The perfect example is the Dailey Stormer labeling Burlington a hate town. How stupid is this? One person puts up a website, that doesn’t even exist now and they don’t know if any meetings actually took place, yet we’re labeled a hate town. It seems to me a bit of propaganda and pot stirring on the part of the Dailey Stormer.

    Love is patient, love is kind.

    • Mike McNally

      There’s very little room for discourse with someone who believes non-whites don’t deserve to exist. If this person claims to not support the elimination of non-whites, why does he associate with skinheads?

      Until that person makes a strong effort to distance themselves from an ideology of genocide, there can be no discourse.

  • Jeff Scannell

    Well Jon, since you seem to place yourself somewhere above the protesters and boycotters perhaps “what can be expected from those who consider themselves “sae pious and sae holy” fits in the mirror as well.

  • Barbara Wilson

    Life is all about good and bad “choices”…….while in America we can practically say and do almost anything there can be consequences. For example, colleges and universities dismiss administrators and professors with a pattern of making disparaging and inappropriate comments to students and each other. Ryan Roy made a “choice” to say and do what he believes and that is his right……but it is also anyone else’s right to take corrective action and refuse to countenance his hate filled baloney…….losing employment is one !!

  • Robert Wood

    “It can’t happen here?”

    Given Burlington’s liberal
    bent, it’s position on The Daily Stormer’s hate map, it’s size and relative isolation, antifa’s abuse at Middlebury College, and Vermont’s open
    carry law, what’s the effective difference between Charlottesville and Burlington?

  • Townsend Peters

    It will show them as the cowards they are.

  • Ron Jacobs

    Fascists deserve consequences or we could end up suffering the consequences of fascism.

  • Paul Drayman

    I believe the ACLU has expressed an opinion on the events in Charlottesville. I feel that radical thinking and expression with violence resulting tests our legal system and the country’s founding philosophies. Except for certain reasons, employers have the right to hire and fire as they wish. It is difficult to know, however, if this young man’s beliefs had or would have manifested in his work. After being exposed, his presence there at the restaurant would likely affect business.

  • Gary Dickinson

    Calling religious people’s beliefs “imaginary friends” is quite open minded of you as well, pal.

  • John Hall

    They say that the road to hell is paved with good intentions, if that is the case then perhaps some who are commenting here are in for a sulphurous roasting.
    I forget which dead white man said ‘ I disagree totally with what you say but I will defend to the death your right to say it’ but perhaps he had a point?

    • Julia Purdy

      When I lived in the Pacific Northwest I often heard ordinary people repeat that saying. Spokane was next door to northern Idaho and the Aryan Nation headed by Richard Butler. Spokane was not then and probably still is not a particularly liberal place (in fact Seattleites typically despised Spokane, in the way Robbie Burns described) but many good things were happening there in spite of the reprehensible neighbors. The Southern Poverty Law Center finally put Aryan Nation out of business when their paranoia got the better of them and they messed up.

      Boston as a community got it right. The crowds simply made it impossible for the hate groups to hold their rally – peacefully, by sheer numbers. And law enforcement got it right: no weapons of any kind. Them’s the terms.

      There is a way to handle this. Retaliation begets retaliation. These guys (and women too) are all about retaliation. Don’t take the bait.

  • Steve Baker

    That flawed logic is a very slippery slope when there’s an employer that decides that some left wing nut is a safety risk to employ

    • David Bell

      First, the “slippery slope” argument is one of the most basic logical fallacies out there.

      Second, right wingers cheer with joy every time one of their boycotts or hate marches gets “some left wing nut” fired for no other crime than being gay, not supporting alternative facts, etc.

      But a white supremacist who is part of a violent hate group getting fired for being a safety risk…. well, take a look at your right winger comments on that.

      And for the record, BLM is not a violent hate group, thanks for the false equivalency.

    • Mike McNally

      Comparing BLM to Nazis is the slipperiest of slopes. Last time I check genocide wasn’t part of BLM’s plans for anyone. It is for Nazis.

  • Steve Baker

    Because you want to decide who is or isn’t a hate group does not mean a thing.

  • Martin Cross Tosswald

    Racist propaganda is not transferable through pepperoni?

    Sorry but I beg to differ – bigotry is transferable through legal commerce. Be it refusing to bake a cake for a wedding, selling confederate flags, “Black Flys Matter” T shirts or other dogmania slogans that adorn any printable form belittling or encouraging violence against anyone who has done no harm to any others.

    Fortunately, in America’s free market economy, business owners are the boss, both in the product they sell and how they choose to market their products. In this case, Uno choose to not have a racist bigot, represent it’s brand. I personally find that food made with love always tastes better that that which is make from hate.

    If Ryan Roy chooses to open his own Pizza parlor, best of luck buddy, it’s a free country. I trust that the free market economy will provide him (and those of his kind) the results they so justly deserve. As a member of the free market I have no problem, or suffer any guilt, choosing who and where I spend my hard earned dollars with.

  • Dennis Works

    Constance Willard Godin: The ACLU has already stepped up – they support the right of white nationalists, the KKK, the Westboro Beptist Church, etc. to hold rallies, demonstrate, etc. – as do I, within limits. Government CANNOT constitutionally limit speech based solely on its content, its unpopularity, or its disgusting message. We are grown-ups and can decide for ourselves what we want to listen to and what we don’t want to listen to. If we desire, we also can hold rallies, counter-demonstrations, etc. to counter the views of the alt-right (or any other group). Now I realize your comment is directed at the ACLU to step up and support Mr. Roy’s right to express his views without fear of retaliation. However, the right to freedom of speech is a protection from governmental interference in your right to speak – not private interference. As his employer is a private entity, they have the right to fire Mr. Roy for almost any reason, except for belonging to certain group/classes of people, based on things such as sex, race, religion, etc. I don’t foresee the ACLU getting involved in Mr. Roy’s complaint about being fired.

  • Steve Baker

    So you support a cake makers right to decide the same?

    • JohnGreenberg

      Businesses catering to the public at large may not discriminate on the basis of race, gender, sexual orientation, etc. Those same businesses are free (in states like VT) to hire and fire whomever they want. There is no equivalence.

  • Steve Baker

    Very slippery slope there.

  • Steve Baker

    Don’t have to worry about having BLM employees?

  • marina brown

    oh puleeze. Free speech does not mean that your speech should be free from consequences. That is not free speech that is impunity.

    I am all for marginalizing fascists and nazis. Let them rejoin polite society when they have rethought their beliefs.

  • marina brown

    I think you will find that freedom of speech is limited to public venues and public employment.

    And it is a bit more than expression – it is probably advocating the death, disenfranchisement and harm of people like me and people i love.

  • Joe Berry

    I have been and presently am engaged in the struggle against fascism and its most prominent US variant, White supremacy, for over 50 years and I do not oppose direct action, even illegal direct action up to and including physical self defense, in the service of this struggle, when it can be most effective.

    However, one of my main reasons for opposing fascism is that it is profoundly anti-working class and anti-union (despite the characterizations of most of the mainstream liberal and conservative media). Therefore, I oppose empowering or encouraging employers to fire people just because they don’t like their politics (or any other aspect of their person that does not directly affect their ability to do the job). I know that in an “at-will employment”state like VT (and nearly all other US states) a private employer has the LEGAL right to dismiss someone for their politics, I think is is not a right the rest to us (most of whom are ourselves workers/employees) should support. The the struggle over public accommodations by the Civil Rights movement was argued against by business on the basis that racial integration of customers or employees would drive away white customers. Ultimately, after years of struggle, that argument was rightly rejected. People should have free speech rights on the job unless their speech poses a clear threat or danger (and we already have laws about that) to others. The precedent for firing workers for political opinions has mostly in the past been used against leftists and progressives, especially communists. We do not want to add to that precedent just because we find this fascist’s views abhorrent.

  • marina brown

    Americans forget so quickly. We fought 2 wars about this stuff – the Civil war and WWII.

    Lets not throw away what they did and let real nazis gain influence in this country.

  • jan van eck

    Seems at best to be a dubious proposition.

  • Will Workman

    How is he a safety risk?

    • David Bell

      Someone who actively participates in a hate group that advocates murdering minorities working in a business that serves food to minorities?

      Take a few moments and consider.

  • Will Workman

    I cannot understand why civil rights advocates are cheering Pizzaria Uno’s actions. Yes, you get the short-term satisfaction of seeing a deplorable person get his comeuppance, but can’t you see where it leads?
    The message here, to all employees, is that you don’t have a personal life. Even if your views never surface at work and never affect your performance, we can comb the Internet to find something you did on your own time, six states away, and use that as a pretext to fire you. You aren’t just an employee, you are our property.
    Second, there was no demonstrated danger here. He was fired for thought crime. Doesn’t that bother anyone?
    Third, a sweeping definition of at-will employment could easily become a club against the very people you are trying to protect. You can’t be fired for being gay, but show up at work with a rainbow bumper sticker and you are fired because of views “inconsistent with our commitment to customer service,” whatever that means. You could be fired for being a weekend cosplayer, or smoking, or attending a “scandalous” performance of Spielpalast.
    Private employment contracts should not be used as an all-purpose end run around our Constitutional rights.
    And where is the ACLU?

    • Nachman Avruch

      A few points:

      a) Causing his fellow employees and customers to feel threatened and potentially steer clear of the business clearly affects his performance, insofar as his job is to contribute positively to the business
      b) There already is a ‘sweeping definition of at-will employment’.
      c) The nature of his at-will employment means, essentially, that there is no ‘contract’.

  • Will Workman

    So if one side has freedom of speech without consequences, and the other side has freedom of speech but will lose their jobs, have their internet accounts shut down, and lose their lease…do you really claim they have equal protection under the law?

    • Mike McNally

      Freedom of speech as defined in the constitution protects citizens from having the government suppress their speech. Private companies and private citizens do not have to respect or tolerate anyones speech.

  • Will Workman

    Antifa already does that.

  • Jamie Carter

    The Vermont government is most definitely not based in reality.

  • Mr. Margolis, this man should have been fired. You need to read “The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich”. These Nazi’s need to be stopped by any means possible. My uncle’s body is on the Arizona in Pearl Harbor. My husband put his life on the line at Pelleliu, one of the bloodiest battles in Marine Corps history. He was in the front line when they hit the beach. From there he went to Iwo Jima. They put their lives on the line to keep this country free from people like the man fired from the pizza place and the Neo Nazi’s in Charlottesville who will kill for their ideology.

    Too many people have forgotten how many men put their lives on the line to stop Hitler. Those who choose to ignore history are doomed to repeat it. This is happening right now here in the United States. The rest of the world is wondering what is happening here.

  • Kevin Unrath

    Simple solution here, Jon. Why don’t you hire Mr. Roy to work as your assistant columnist? You can teach him on the job how to be a more tolerant, level-headed fellow. Set a good example for him. It might be great to work alongside this troubled youth as he learns to become more tolerant.

  • Julia Purdy

    It’s easy to see why religion is one of the protected classes. People have been tearing each other apart for at least a millennium over the promise of salvation and eternal life, and who gets to enjoy those.Unfortunately, that belief seems to go hand in hand with despising, shunning and trying to destroy the unbeliever (the infidel) as the agent that will block the way to heaven. Robbie Burns observed it and so did our founders. The Witch Craze of Europe, the Protestant Reformation, the Inquisition and Savonarola, were not so long before our new democracy that our founders were unaware of them and their dangers. Hence: freedom of worship.
    Just leave each other alone!!

  • James Hall

    Vermont is a AT WILL state as far as employment and/or termination of same goes. Having been relieved from duty twice I can tell you it is not easy to recover unless some very flagrant laws are violated. This happened to me in one case, (both Federal and State laws violated) and I recovered damages. In the other case, I looked at my supervisor cross-eyed one day and I was gone the next. A reason or no reason at all can get one relieved.

  • Karen Ceraso

    Are you freakin serious?? You have got to be kidding… These white men (and they did have some female support, but in the “movement” they fall back to push the men in front as shields for their own racism) were out shouting for ethnic cleansing, among other things. They killed a woman with a car, put a man in a coma, and a group of them attacked a Black man with poles. Klan leader david Duke marched with them. They went heavily armed, stashed guns around the city, and all carried torches (a throwback to KKK terrorism). Yet they’re not thugs? And are being coddled by the so-called president. Apparently, the writer doesn’t feel troubled or threatened by this “movement for white rights.” Hmm, wonder why…

    Free speech is not supposed to protect terrorism. It does not guarantee jobs to Neo-Nazis who want a land for white people only. Look, he’s already in Vt– not white enough for him even here anymore??

    To not see the pure heinousness of the so-called Alt-Right– which is a name they gave themselves to avoid the less “palatable” term Neo-Nazi — is white privilege in the extreme. Why does Vt digger keep giving white men a platform to spout about racism– something you will never experience in your lifetime as a white man in this country. Clueless, privileged BS! And will the writer even take the time to read the comments and attempt to educate himself further on why threatening ethnic cleansing is wrong?? I thought that was obvious, silly me…

  • Karen Ceraso

    Absolutely– you have managed to convolute the issue entirely. They are openly advocating ethnic cleansing. Apparently, Nazi sympathizing is alive and well.

  • Karen Ceraso

    How America will die is if white people continue coddling other white people who are threatening ethnic cleansing of nearly 1/2 the population.

    • Pat Cashman

      Race is irrelevant, rights are not.

  • Dan DeCoteau

    I’m not a religious person by any stretch but I do know this. The fundamentals for living and treating others as you wish to be treated is and has been found in various religious beliefs. If there had never been a religious thought or writing throughout human existence would we have any basis for how we proceed with our lives to the benefit of ourselves and others that we encounter? Our nation was founded on those fundamentals. To ignore the benefit of them is short sighted. Supposedly in America we can and do think whatever we want. It is only after someone has been indoctrinated and takes action to hurt another person that affects others. The thought police are out in full force on this article. As in the movie Minority Report are we headed for the future time when we will be arrested for what we think? As in any other situation, those who wish to stifle thought will only understand the danger of their ways when their thoughts become the target of the mob mentality shown by many here.

  • Daphne Black

    Please supply some links for these claims.

  • Justin Boland

    I was assuming anyone reading this online had internet access — a safe bet.

    Not sure I’m mis-representing anything with my summary. Presumably if some journalists were to dig into the story, we’d be able to leave the ontological limbo of “can’t prove a negative.”

    • JohnGreenberg

      Having internet access is NOT the same as having the time and inclination to find an article saying precisely what you claim it said. Why make all your readers re-invent the wheel?

      Having read the article Daphne linked to, I’d have to conclude that Daphne Black is correct. You ARE misrepresenting what Snopes said.

  • JohnGreenberg

    “… and didn’t disavow the killing.” Please see: ”

    Black Lives Matter condemns Dallas, pushes forward with protests”https://www.cbsnews.com/news/dallas-shooting-black-lives-matter-leaders-respond/

  • JohnGreenberg

    Gosh, I guess the KKK never thought of that.

  • Neil Johnson

    Our country should not be afraid of 300 people with dumb ideas.

    For 330 million people to be afraid of 300 or 3,000 people with really stupid ideas is spreading propaganda and fear.

    They represent nobodies view but their own. My relatives fought and died against Nazi’s in Europe so I don’t take the thought lightly. Our country does not suddenly need to go into hysterics because of 300 people that have been living here for decades are suddenly exposed.

    Propaganda…..it’s being used on Americans. We are better than this. There will never be a Nazi take over of America, we are free men and women.

  • Gary Dickinson

    See your comment:
    “Far too often when religion is involved in ANY discussion in ANY sort of
    way, even if it’s not explicitly stated but merely the influence on
    ones view of the world,Logic,Reason, and being open minded to other
    POV’s are in truth the first things out the door.”
    Applies to the religious and the non-religious alike.

  • John Klar

    Scientific evidence is not the only method of experience. Faith arises from reason coupled with revelation (Aquinas). The Big Bang exists only in human minds. The miracle of creation is not proven by any scientific theory: faith.