Addressing the story of Little Italy Pizzeria that failed its health inspection on Aug 31: It concerns me the inspection failed around the same time protesters came to Gainesville to remove the Confederate monument. I have eaten there many times and enjoyed the service and food. I also enjoy the principles on which Little Italy is established.
Little Italy’s founder, Joseph Cortese, immigrated to this country in 1960. Ben Cortese, his son and the present owner, stated he was targeted specifically because of what is going on with racism and politics in the world. He received threatening messages via social media stating “Why are you allowing these people to eat in your establishment?” and “I will never come eat here again if he is allowing these people to eat at his restaurant.”
Mr. Cortese believes everyone has a right to their own way of expressing themselves. He wants everyone to have a fair chance just as his father was given. He is not directly a part of the protest against the monuments. He just wants to serve food like he has always done and continue to value his customers equally, regardless of race, religion and political views.
Your newspaper printed this, and just as you’re exercising your right to freedom of press, those people were using theirs. Does that call for the unfair treatment of Mr. Cortese? I would hope when Little Italy Pizzeria passes the next inspection, you would reprint and establish the credentials the restaurant has held for the past 17 years.