Members of Chicago's Humboldt Park community gathered Thursday outside TipsyCake, a bakery whose owner has come under criticism after she made controversial remarks about their neighborhood during a recent online video interview.
In the interview with CitySoles TV, TipsyCake owner Naomi Levine said that she had to move her business to its current Bucktown storefront, located at 1944 N. Damen Ave., from its original Humboldt Park base because there too many "bullets in the cake." "Nobody would be too scared" to go to the bakery's new location, she remarked, in addition to noting that she had dubbed one of her desserts "Humboldt crack bars."
(Scroll down to watch the contentious interview segment in full.)
The comments ignited a flurry of criticism on Facebook, Twitter, Yelp and elsewhere.
Demonstrators outside the bakery took issue with Levine's comments and called for a boycott of her business, ABC Chicago reports.
"We have the business community here who has tried so hard to revitalize our commercial streets in Humboldt Park and we don't need Miss Levine to try to undo what we have so hard tried to work at," one demonstrator said, according to ABC.
Ald. Proco Joe Moreno (1st) described the comments as "not only just irritating, but it’s disgusting," CBS Chicago reports. Ald. Roberto Maldonado (26th) added that "what is offensive is that she made these remarks, thinking that she’s being cute, but what she’s doing is offending a community that has embraced her so that she can make a living."
Levine posted an apology for her "insensitive" comments on the business's Facebook page Thursday -- a posting that received nearly 200 comments as of Friday afternoon.
"At the time I made my comments, I truly failed to take into consideration any historical, social, economic or political implications of my words," Levine wrote, noting that she had received some threats of physical violence after the video went public.
"Like many in society, I never took any time to develop a real understanding of the very community and the history of the people that I have had the fortune of living among for the past 6 years," she continued. "While I do not expect that every single person that was offended will accept my apology."
Though Humboldt Park resident and Puerto Rican Cultural Center volunteer Juanita Garcia admitted that the community has some problems, she also noted to the RedEye that "there's a lot of good things happening in the community and for someone to make outrageous comments is a reason for the community to get together and speak out against it."
While many commenters weighing in on the controversy on TipsyCake's Yelp page expressed anger with the comments, others called the backlash "ridiculous" and even "sabotage."
WATCH the controversial interview segment where Levine comments about her business's Humboldt Park roots: