Tom Morello Addresses PancakeGate And 5 Point Cafe’s “Hipster Version Of A Studio 54 Doorman”

Tom Morello has addressed what he’s calling “Pancake-Gate” in a long Facebook post that sees the Rage Against The Machine guitarist try to justify his actions against Seattle’s 5 Point Cafe and provide context to the whole situation. (For those of you just tuning in, see here for how this all started.) Morello goes into a detailed blow-by-blow of what he says happened that night, including a long conversation he says he had with the doorman, who he calls “a hipster version of a Studio 54 doorman.” (The doorman in question, who goes by the name Roach, gives his own story.) Apparently, after not getting into 5 Point, Morello and his party made their way over to “the trusty, attitude free, IHOP where we enjoyed a drama free stack of hotcakes.”

The cafe has responded again via their Facebook page, saying, “Next time don’t call, iHop is glad to take your money and donate it to right wing politicians so keep going there and supporting the very thing you claim to rage against. Pathetic.”

There’s more to Morello’s letter, but it’s also a lot more fun just to read, so here it is:

Subject: Pancake-Gate

I regret that my twitter salvo about the treatment I received at a Seattle restaurant and the subsequent digital tempest in a tea pot may have taken away from the important work of those organizing for a $15min wage and the Seattle show I played on their behalf.

When next in Seattle I would be happy sit down over a beverage–or sooner on the phone–and discuss the matter to conclusion with all concerned. The restaurant, the incident and my bruised feelings don’t matter. What does matter is the hard, tireless work put in by those committed to fighting for a more just world.

If interested however here is the non-140 character blow by blow of the “Encounter At @The5PointCafe”:

Our team of musicians flew to Seattle for a benefit show for 15 Now, the grassroots campaign to raise the minimum wage to $15. I’ve long been a supporter of this particular campaign as well as the national drive for a living wage.

The show itself at the former Off Ramp went great. I was reunited with former @Audioslave band mate @ChrisCornell for the first time in years and together with the raucous crowd it was really a special evening. A good deal of money was raised for the 15Now cause and we wandered into the Seattle late night happy…and hungry.

Two of our hosts from 15Now a band mate of mine, a woman from management, and my brother from Kenya comprised our party. Someone suggested Five Points, a spot I remember fondly from back in the day. I had some reservations because one of our 15Now friends said that while the owner was a good guy and treated staff well, the restaurant itself was on “the wrong side of the minimum wage issue” and had attempted to water down the $15min wage legislation by drawing out the implementation period and adjusting for tips to make it more palatable to small businesses. I am 100% on the side of an undiluted $15Now initiative which is in my view the only “pro worker” position, but hey we were hungry so let’s give it a shot.

The restaurant was packed and spirited and we asked the doorman “party of 6 for dinner?” He said they were at capacity and it would probably be a 10min wait. No problem. Then ten people or so left the restaurant. “Can we come in now? Those people just left.” No. “Why?” I’m not letting anyone in. “Wait a second. Are you at capacity or are you not letting anyone in?” I’m not letting you in. “So you’re no longer at capacity but we can’t come in?” No. “Um ok. How about we order take out and sit at one of these 20 empty tables outside?” No. “Ok what’s really going on here dude? Some of us have traveled a long way. He’s from Kenya! I’m from the 90’s!” I’m not letting you in. “Say, is your manager here? Maybe he’s a Rage Against The Machine fan? He might even raise your pay to $15 an hour!” More people leave the restaurant. It’s clearly under capacity. Then our friends see that inside the restaurant several tables are occupied by friends of ours from 15Now. “Hey look we don’t even need a table. We’ll just join our friends who are already inside?” No. “Really? Why not?” I’m not letting you in. “Can we just go TALK to them and see if they have room for us?” No. It was like a hipster version of a Studio 54 doorman. At that point my band mate made a flavorful declaration and we decamped to the trusty, attitude free, IHOP where we enjoyed a drama free stack of hotcakes.

To be clear: at no point did myself or anyone in our party “demand special treatment”, a “private room” or any other ridiculousness.

I was however pissed at the rudeness of the doorman to my friends and my younger brother–of whom I’m quite protective. I question what underlying motives the doorman may have had. Bad day? Anti-Kenyan? Preferred the Spin Doctors?

Whatever the cause, it is unfortunate that MY actions in response have diverted attention from the great work done by 15Now. “Twitter bitching” is counterproductive as it invites grossly misinformed conjecture not easily dispelled in 140 characters. Lesson learned.

As I’ve said before Seattle is truly an advanced society with its $15 minimum wage, its legal pot, it’s gay marriage, its great music and its Seattle Seahawks.

Next time we’ll call ahead.


And here’s the cafe’s response:

Maybe he was “Anti-Kenyan”?? Ok, enough Tom. That’s fucked up. Stop trying to portray the doorperson as a racist. That really sucks and is crazy abusive. Done with you. Maybe you don’t realize you were acting the punk, but you were. Just because 10 people leave a place doesn’t mean the place still isn’t over capacity. Ugh. You should really STFU. I was totally willing to put an end to this but now you’re really actually pissing me off.

And I tried to “water down” the minimum wage by asking for a tip credit with a $10 base with increases tied to the CPI? Get it right man. You’re looking ignorant.

Next time don’t call, iHop is glad to take your money and donate it to right wing politicians so keep going there and supporting the very thing you claim to rage against. Pathetic.

And to add another layer (!) to this whole thing, here’s the doorman’s side of the story as told to Seattle’s The Stranger:

Roach says Morello didn’t seem drunk or drugged up.

“In fact, he didn’t come off as being a jerk, other than that he wouldn’t take ‘no’ for an answer,” Roach said. “One of the first things out of his mouth is, ‘Does the owner like Rage Against the Machine?’ I said, ‘Probably, but we’re full right now.’ Normally I try to be witty with my answers, but the whole party kept trying to get in. ‘Isn’t there someplace in the back you can put us, away from everybody?’ I said, ‘No, man, it’s not that kind of place. We’re really small; I don’t have any room for you.’ They just kept asking me. I’m sure I looked irritated. The fact that he thought I was rude may be his interpretation of my irritation.

There’s more from the doorman here if you want to read it.

Long live #PancakeGate.

[Photo by Larry Busacca/Getty.]