In a costly object lesson about the power and reach of social media, a pizza shop in Aurora, Colorado, set off a firestorm after allegedly giving the boot to a competitive eater who wanted to try the shop’s pizza-eating challenge.
Raina Huang, a YouTuber famous for traveling across the country and taking on food challenges, was kicked out of a restaurant in Aurora, Colorado after she was accused of being a scammer.
Huang went to StevO’s Pizza n Ribs on Sunday to do the OMG 28” pizza challenge, where contestants must finish the pizza in one hour without breaks for $100, according to Denver7.
When Huang spoke to the restaurant’s owner, Steve Wieand about trying the challenge, she was met with explicit names and accusations of being a scammer and was eventually kicked out of the restaurant.
Surveillance footage from inside the popular eatery shows Huang explaining to Wieand that she does food challenges often and posts them on her YouTube channel. Wieand’s remarks do not appear in the surveillance footage, but a separate video posted by Huang shows an irate Wieand making crude comments.
“He called me a ‘dirty, lying wh***’ straight to my face,” Huang said in a tearful video that she posted to Instagram stories following the altercation with the pizza shop owner. “I’ve never had a restaurant experience this bad. I was just here to do a pizza challenge. I don’t understand.”
As a competitor with over 465 food challenges to her name, Huang avoids calling herself a professional, instead recording her journey across America like in the popular television show “Man v. Food.”
Following the incident, Wieand’s restaurant received plenty of blowbacks. More than 50 people have left one-star reviews of the restaurant on Yelp since the incident and many have been calling the eatery and hanging up when someone answers.
Stephanie Wieand, daughter of the restaurant’s owner, witnessed the incident and regrets how it went down.
“I think that it could have been handled better,” she said. “All I want to say is that I apologize to Raina and to everyone.”
She added that her father “definitely feels bad” about how he acted.
According to ABC 7 Denver, Google reviews of the restaurant show a track record of Wieand using foul language and threatening customers, to which Stephanie responded that her father only does that when necessary.
“I just want him to have more respect for his customers, toward other people in general,” Huang said.
Watch the video report below for more details: