While some people like to complain that we’ve all become a little over sensitive, it’s very unusual to look objectively at a complaint and not find something to sympathise with. In many cases, an honest appraisal of why someone might be upset can end up helping you see things from a different perspective, even if you initially couldn’t understand what the fuss was about. However, occasionally there are events where almost everyone agrees that the boundaries of bad taste have definitely been crossed.
Such an event is currently being experienced by the proprietors of Australian restaurant “Pablo’s Escoburgers”. The Melbourne-based eatery takes their name from the infamous Colombian drug lord and subsequent Netflix superstar Pablo Escobar, who ran the brutal Medellin Cartel during the 1980s. As the business proves, his influence is still felt today.
Though immortalising a known murderer and narco terrorist via a burger might seem shocking, especially to those who have experienced drug violence first hand, Escoburger’s real coup de grace comes with what they decided to serve alongside their food. According to a report in The Daily Mail, the burgers also “feature a line of white garlic powder on top of the bun.” Other additions include “a rolled up fake American $100 note and a clear plastic bag filled with more garlic powder and a spoon.”
Predictably, reactions have expressed varying levels of outrage. One user on Facebook wrote “You are so naive. I hope you one day actually talk to a Colombian and realise how offensive your restaurant is,” whilst another added, “Who the f*** idolises a drug lord and sticks a rolled up dollar bill in a burger?” Staff at the restaurant admitted that they had received several complaints, including from Colombian residents living in the area.
However, despite their negative reception, Pablo’s Escoburgers have stated categorically that they have no intention of changing the controversial name. Co-owner Vaughan Marks spoke to 3AW radio, defending the item as “just a bit of a joke,” adding, “that’s just the way most Australians see it”. Host Tom Elliot was quick to point out that the restaurant seemed to be “veering on the side of glorifying drug use”.
Despite initially defending their position, the restaurant have since been forced to issue an apology, of sorts on their website. In a statement titled “Not Here To Offend”, the restaurant wrote, “We are very proud of our burgers but we do also understand that Pablo Escobar was a horrible man who destroyed the lives of thousands of Colombians.” They also added that it is “Hard not to offend someone in 2019”.
Arguments over whether it’s ok to have a cocaine-themed burger, the bigger question seems to be whether or not there was anyone better to honour with a beef patty. Even if you aren’t offended by an Escoburger, it’s hard to argue that he’s more deserving than other, nicer, figures from history.