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Tuesday, May 15, 2012 3:36 p.m.

Petition criticizes food truck for insulting foreign cultures

The Fojol Brothers of Merilindia food truck employees serve Indian food while donning turbans and playing Punjabi music. Photo courtesy of Dave Kleinschmidt under Creative Commons License

The Fojol Brothers food truck that brings turbaned employees and Punjabi music to H Street to serve up Thai, Ethiopian and Indian specialties is being called out for “brazenly insulting of others’ cultures.”

Change.org posted a petition Tuesday that garnered more than 400 signatures as of 3:42 p.m. to tell the food truck’s owner to “stop the brownface minstrel act,” citing employees’ stage names like “Dingo” and “Ababa Du.”

The petition follows “An Open Letter to the ‘Fojol’ Bro-dawgs” posted Friday on Facebook, blasting the truck for “brazenly insulting of others’ cultures.”

Drew Franklin, the author of the post, called the owners “a bunch of callous opportunists banking off the ever profitable enterprise that is Western Orientalism.”

One of the truck’s owners, Justin Vitarello, told The Huffington Post that Fojol Brothers will not change anything about their costumes or “Merlindian” personas.

“We’re not going to stop doing that, is what it comes down to,” Vitarello said. “The people and the market will tell whether they like this or not.”

  • Jared

    I like that part of the problem is that they’re wearing fake mustaches. REAL MUSTACHES ONLY!!!

    It’s only okay to appropriate other cultures’ FOOD, you guys. Not anything else.

  • Lucy Choi

    The Fojol brothers were the first twitter food truck and why we have all these DC food trucks. They serve good food, employ lots of people, small local business, and put out blankets. I’m not big on their schtick, but until now, even minorities were all about how great they were.

    This is what is so stupid about hipsters. No one says anything for years, and then when a white hipster coins a hipster term like hipster racism, and another white hipster writes some facebook hipster open letter, and enough hipsters sign a petition, you throw the baby out with the bathwater. I should start an activist group called hipsters against hipsters. We’ll have the Hipster Eye of Sauron. wait til I turn my hipster eye on you.

  • R. Tomasi

    The Fojol brothers are correct; let market forces decide the status of this eatery. America is about choices and opportunities. We the have the choice of taking our business to them, or not. They are simply exercising the right to see a business opportunity and capitalize on it.