2016 Villain: La Carnita
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2016 Villain: La Carnita

Nominated for: mucho social media misogyny, and taking over public spaces.

Torontoist is reflecting on 2016 by naming our Heroes and Villains—the people, places, things, and ideas that have had the most positive and negative impacts on the city over the past 12 months. Cast your ballot until 11:59 p.m. on January 5. At noon on January 6, we’ll reveal your choices for Toronto’s Superhero and Supervillain of the year.
Toronto taco franchise La Carnita had quite the year. There was the time they claimed a public space for ongoing private use, and the taco restaurant’s ongoing tradition of mucho misogynistic messages via their social media.

Granted, La Carnita issued a mea culpa after “>their Instagram played on Donald Trump’s statement about grabbing women by their genitals. La Carnita joked, “What if he grabbed her by the taco?” Reaction to the post was swift with critics pointing out that such statements were not an anomaly but in keeping with past social media posts made by the restaurant. Critics cited one Tweet in particular, in which La Carnita referred to their female waitstaff as TacHOES.

Owner Andrew Richmond also issued a personal apology and acknowledged that perhaps the company’s staff needs some sensitivity training.

For the main dish, the patio of its John Street location, shared with Sweet Jesus, became the site of a staged sit-in in which condo owners refused to move after being told the area was for La Carnita customers only. La Carnita had placed its patio on a privately owned publicly accessible space or POPS which warranted the wrath of residents who rightly pointed out that the space was meant for everyone.

La Carnita has proved popular and successful. But how they have engaged with the city shows they have a lot of growing up to do.