You may have seen photos of President Obama being bear hugged and lifted up off the ground by one excited man. That man was Big Apple Pizza owner Scott Van Duzer, a Republican who voted for Obama in 2008 and plans to do so again in November. Since the photo went viral on the web, Van Duzer has been the target of criticism and a boycott on his establishment.
Van Duzer explained to Wolf Blitzer that the hug was absolutely spontaneous, although some people believe it was staged for media sake. “We didn’t plan it, we didn’t have no communication with the Secret Service about it or anything like that. It was just a genuine moment… it was an incredible experience,” Van Duzer explained.
Since then, Big Apple Pizza has been under attack via Yelp, where people who were not pleased by the Republican being so open to Obama. Opposers went to Yelp to give the establishment one-star reviews, while supporters fired back with five-star reviews, more on the politics than the pizza itself. Van Duzer responded with this statement:
“Whether you’re Republican or Democrat, he’s our president. It was just a tremendous honor. It’s really bizarre — we were watching the convention last week and now here he is.”
Since then, the pizza shop owner has been contacted by numerous media outlets to tell his story, including Anderson Live, Inside Edition, and Good Morning America.