Outback Steakhouse has drawn the ire of Tea Party supporters after an Illinois waitress said she was fired for wearing a “Don’t Tread on Me” bracelet.
Outback denies the worker, Megan Geller of Woodstock, Ill., was fired because of the bracelet, according to a report in the Northwest Herald newspaper. The restaurant in Crystal Lake, Ill., claims the 23-year-old woman was let go because she was ignoring customers.
Geller said a couple complained about the bracelet, which she’d worn for months without any problem. The bracelet contains words found on a well-known historical American flag with a yellow background and rattlesnake poised to strike. It was only after the customers complained that she was fired, she said.
The local restaurant has been the target of conservative bloggers and radio hosts, and protests by local Tea Party members, who say Geller’s free speech rights have been violated.
An Outback lawyer told the newspaper Geller would have been told to remove the bracelet if that had been the problem.
“Megan Gellar was not let go because of her Tea Party bracelet,” Outback’s Chief Legal Officer Jospeh Kadow said in a statement.