Chicago-area deli owner Greg Morelli posted an insensitive tweet in response to the Las Vegas massacre, and he’s paying the price.
He had attempted, he later wrote in an apology on Facebook, to make a joke. Morelli tweeted: “Soon as I heard it was country music, I felt relief. White people shooting white people isn’t terror…it’s community outreach. #LasVegas”
The tweet has caused outrage. Morelli told the Chicago Tribune that “[his] phones are ringing off the hook.”
Morelli is co-owner of Max’s Deli in the Chicago suburb of Highland Park. He told the Tribune that he sent the tweet out early Monday morning and did so out of emotion and frustration.
“It was a dumb joke, and it didn’t work. I own it. It was stupid,” Morelli, who deleted the tweet, told the newspaper. “It was 7 in the morning, and I was stressed out and freaked out by the shooting. I was trying to participate, and all I did was put my foot in my mouth.”
Morelli described himself as politically “lost” and expressed frustration with more deaths from mass shootings in the U.S. but no action in response to them.
“How many shootings are we going to let happen in this country without having a conversation about it?” he asked.
Morelli also drew criticism following the white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Va. The Tribune reported that he drew and posted to Facebook a cartoon of a man wearing a Nazi armband, a T-shirt reading “I’m with Alt-Right” and giving a “Heil Hitler” salute. The man’s hairstyle resembled that of President Donald Trump.
“I have a Jewish deli; I am a Jewish man,” Morelli told the Tribune at the time. “I am the first person that’s going to get a brick through the window if this plague is not stopped immediately.”