Customer finds controversial message on burrito wrapper

DENVER (KDVR) -- First, a restaurant in New Mexico came under fire for it. Then, a marina in Maryland sparked similar outrage. Now, a Denver restaurant chain is dealing with claims of racism.

It's all over a controversial use of words some say belittles an important national movement.

Saturday night, a couple of buddies stopped by Illegal Pete's at 270 South Broadway for some dinner. But what they found inside when they got home made them sick to their stomachs--and it had nothing to do with the food.

This small square of aluminum foil creating some big hurts for friends Jovi Wansley and Connor Chainhalt.

"With everything going on in the world today, I don't think it's acceptable," says Wansley.

"This is my good friend. And to single him out like that, is not okay, because of skin color," says Chainhalt.

The two ordered the same burritos at Illegal Pete's last night.

But Wansley added black olives.

After they got home, they suddenly lost their appetite because of three words written on Wansley's wrapper.

"My burrito, on the foil, it says 'Black Olives Matter,' in a mockery of Black Lives Matter," says Wansley.

He then called up the restaurant and spoke to the manager who apologized and said it was a joke.

But Wansley says the deadly shootings of black men by police nationally is hardly funny--and points to a larger issue of racism.

"I feel helpless. Because no matter what stance, no matter what you do, it seems it never stops. It's a never-ending story, a never-ending cycle," he says.

RELATED: Iconic photos from the #BlackLivesMatter movement:

10 PHOTOS
Most iconic photos of Black Lives Matter movement since Ferguson
See Gallery
Most iconic photos of Black Lives Matter movement since Ferguson
FERGUSON, MO - AUGUST 17: Tear gas rains down on a woman kneeling in the street with her hands in the air after a demonstration over the killing of teenager Michael Brown by a Ferguson police officer on August 17, 2014 in Ferguson, Missouri. Despite the Brown family's continued call for peaceful demonstrations, violent protests have erupted nearly every night in Ferguson since his August 9, death. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
A demonstrator protesting the shooting death of Alton Sterling is detained by law enforcement near the headquarters of the Baton Rouge Police Department in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, U.S. July 9, 2016. REUTERS/Jonathan Bachman TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
FERGUSON, MO - AUGUST 11: Police force protestors from the business district into nearby neighborhoods on August 11, 2014 in Ferguson, Missouri. Police responded with tear gas and rubber bullets as residents and their supporters protested the shooting by police of an unarmed black teenager named Michael Brown who was killed Saturday in this suburban St. Louis community. Yesterday 32 arrests were made after protests turned into rioting and looting in Ferguson. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
ST LOUIS, MO - OCTOBER 12: A demonstrator protesting the killings of 18-year-olds Michael Brown by a Ferguson, Missouri Police officer and Vonderrit Myers Jr. by an off duty St. Louis police officer gets help after being maced by police on October 12, 2014 in St Louis, Missouri. The St. Louis area has been struggling to heal since riots erupted in suburban Ferguson following Brown's death. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PA - DECEMBER 3: A demonstrator cries while gathering in Philadelphia to protest the Eric Garner grand jury decision during a Christmas Tree lighting ceremony at City Hall December 3, 2014 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Organizers called for the demonstration after a grand jury in the Staten Island borough of New York City declined to indict the police officer who used a chokehold on Garner, resulting in his death. (Photo by Mark Makela/Getty Images)
FERGUSON, MO - NOVEMBER 25: Police confront demonstrators during a protest on November 25, 2014 in Ferguson, Missouri. Yesterday protesting turned into rioting following the grand jury announcement to not indict officer Darren Wilson in the Michael Brown case. Brown, an 18-year-old black man, was killed by Darren Wilson, a white Ferguson police officer, on August 9. At least 12 buildings were torched and more than 50 people were arrested during the night-long rioting. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
BLOOMINGTON, MN - DECEMBER 20: Thousands of protesters from the group 'Black Lives Matter' disrupt holiday shoppers on December 20, 2014 at Mall of America in Bloomington, Minnesota. (Photo by Adam Bettcher/Getty Images)
A police officer stands over activists, demanding justice for the death of Eric Garner, as they stage a 'die-in' during rush hour at Grand Central Terminal in the Manhattan borough of New York on December 3, 2014. A New York City grand jury on Wednesday returned no indictment against a white police officer who used a chokehold on an unarmed black man who died as police tried to arrest him for illegally selling cigarettes, local media reported. The grand jury in the city's borough of Staten Island decided against criminal charges for New York police officer Daniel Pantaleo in the death of Eric Garner. The deadly encounter on July 17 was captured on a video that quickly spread over the Internet and helped fuel debates about how U.S. police use force, particularly against minorities. REUTERS/Adrees Latif (UNITED STATES - Tags: CIVIL UNREST POLITICS TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY TRANSPORT)
A man protesting the shooting death of Alton Sterling is detained by law enforcement near the headquarters of the Baton Rouge Police Department in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, U.S. July 9, 2016. REUTERS/Jonathan Bachman TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

'Black Olives Matter' also sparking complaints in Albuquerque this summer when an Italian restaurant sold t-shirts with the controversial phrase.

And in Ocean City, Maryland, 'White Lives Matter' promoted marlin conservation.

"It's an ignorant statement. Like you just don't do that. That's something you don't do, especially with everything going on at this point," says Chainhalt.

The manager sent the employee home and he could face further discipline.

But the restaurant's owner, Pete Turner, says the worker is not racist--that he just did a stupid thing.

"I just want more people to be educated, be careful of what you mock, of what you say," says Wansley.

Turner says the employee wrote "Black Olives Matter" to distinguish it from the other burrito in the same order without olives.

He also says the employee did not know the customer was black. He works behind a wall in which you can't see customers.

Now, the chain will address this issue with employees at all nine locations, emphasizing they must be more careful and sensitive.

Read Full Story

Sign up for Breaking News by AOL to get the latest breaking news alerts and updates delivered straight to your inbox.

Subscribe to our other newsletters

Emails may offer personalized content or ads. Learn more. You may unsubscribe any time.