When the New York Observer, which is published by Donald Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner, endorsed the Republican candidate, restaurant critic Joshua David Stein knew it was time to go after three years on the job. Stein, who also contributes to New York Magazine and Grub Street, writes in The Guardian:
I wrote about crudités and deconstructed borscht. So I kept my head in my plate and tried to ignore the ugly politics around me. In my own indirect way, I tried to push back. Shortly after Trump delivered a toxic attack on Mexicans calling them rapists and murderers, I parroted his syntax for a favorable review of two tremendous Mexican restaurants, Cosme and Rosie’s. “When Mexico sends its people …” I wrote, “ They’re sending people that have lots of poblanos and they’re bringing those poblanos with them. They’re bringing tclayudo. They’re bringing tlacuyo, their arepas. And some, I assume, are good people, too.”
Subtle, it wasn’t. And for a while I contented myself as working for gradual change from within the system. I tried to convince myself that if I lauded love and light in my writing it could somehow redeem the dark toxicity of the paper’s ownership. Perhaps that I served the reader or shone the spotlight on chefs could absolve me. But in the end, there became less and less room to manoeuvre. But what’s the difference between a court jester and a genuine voice of dissent? One the court keeps; the other has too much integrity to keep the court entertained.
Ultimately, as Stein says, “To stand with Trump is to stand with hate; what I ate, and what I thought about it, is small beer compared with that.”