Facing backlash from customers, the owner of Ryleigh’s Oyster apologized Monday for tweets that appeared to disparage Baltimore’s Ceasefire movement.
Over the weekend, Brian McComas, who owns Ryleigh’s Oyster in Federal Hill and Hunt Valley, as well as Crossbar and goes by @MacOyster on Twitter, referred to criminals as “thugs” and said they “don’t give an F about a ‘ceasefire.” He also used the hashtag “village idiots” to describe organizers of the Ceasefire movement.
Twitter users quickly lashed out at McComas, with some threatening to boycott his restaurants.
“I’ve never eaten at a Ryleigh’s, and I’m glad i have an excuse to continue to deny them my patronage. I can think of a more than a handful of solid places providing quality oysters in town,” Twitter user @clayferg29 wrote.
Members of a local club supporting English soccer powerhouse Tottenham Hotspurs have watched games at Ryleigh’s Oyster for over a decade, said member Justin Hillman.
Hillman said they plan to find a new place to watch games because so many members are calling for a boycott after the tweet was shared in the club’s Facebook group. And with Tottenham playing Liverpool in Champions League Final on June 1, it’s leaving the 50-member club scrambling
“It’s a mess,” Hillman said in an email. “This controversy could not have come at a worse time for our supporters club, as this huge game is coming up and many members may not be there as a form of protest.”
In an email to The Baltimore Sun on Monday, McComas clarified, “of course I support a ceasefire. He added that a Ryleigh’s employee had been killed in the city in 2017. Bartender Sebastian Dvorak, 27, was shot to death on Boston Street in Canton.
“My tweet was my anger toward the city’s leadership treating the citizens like idiots, telling them what they want to hear and supporting their movements like the ceasefire by doing absolutely NOTHING to stop this violence but yet they remain in leadership,” McComas said.
McComas acknowledged that he “failed miserably” in getting his point across.
“I unequivocally support any citizen of Baltimore trying to stop this violence. I sincerely apologize for letting my anger get the better of me to everyone,” he wrote.
Organizers of the Baltimore Ceasefire movement called for 72 hours without violence. Over Mother’s Day weekend, there were events throughout the city to call for peace and remember victims of gun violence. During those three days, two people died and four others were shot. The previous weekend, which was not designated a Ceasefire weekend, 12 people were shot.
In response to the weekend violence, McComas tweeted what he thought would be a conversation between two individuals plotting to shoot someone.
“Thug 1: ‘“Imma put a cap in your ass.’”
Thug 2: “‘yo it’s a ceasefire weekend.’”
Thug 1: “‘Oh dear sir please forgive me for my behavior as I put my snubby back in my sock.’ ”
After being reprimanded for his remarks by numerous people, the restaurant owner eventually apologized by responding to a tweet calling him a “repulsive human being” and said he was acting superior to those trying to make a difference within the city.
McComas responded: “was not the intent. I have just grown tired of reading about the carnage and the leadership giving lip service to people fighting for their lives. My apologies.”
His apology didn’t quell the responses. Tweet after tweet kept rolling in, condemning the owner and his restaurants.
Twitter user @MHJulie added, “now I know I will never patronize Ryleigh's Oyster Federal Hill, Ryleigh's Oyster Hunt Valley, or Crossbar. Thanks, Mac for simplifying my life!”
Another user asked, “what are you doing to make things better? Who do YOU care about?”
To which, McComas replied: “Support every group I can everyday in whatever way possible as long as the end game involves a solution. My issues is politicians are getting away with bloody murder. They do nothing. They straddle the fence and ride out their time. Look at all the council members retiring!”
This is not the first time a tweet from McComas has caused controversy on social media.
Several users have criticized McComas for the #MAGA hashtag in his Twitter bio, which signifies support for President Donald Trump. Others took exception to McComas when he called Baltimore a “dumpster fire” in a tweet.
And after his latest comments, he said his weekend was made when someone referred to him as a racist.
“Somebody called me a racist! you made my weekend and it’s not even 8am yet on Saturday! THATS THE LAST THING I AM FOLKS. Racists come in all shapes, sizes and colors. . See: Baltimore City leadership,” he wrote.
Baltimore Sun reporter Christina Tkacik contributed to this article.