Does anyone REALLY know what happened at Carmine’s?

This past September, a video depicting a group of women attacking a host at a Carmine’s Italian restaurant in Manhattan, allegedly over a request for proof of vaccination, went viral. It was a simple, all-too-perfect distillation of 2021 outrage narratives: vaxx-happy liberals versus right-wing anti-vaxxers. Well, the truth—if it can be ascertained—is more complicated than that, as The Cut’s Bridget Read writes. A counternarrative soon emerged: The women, who were Black, had vaccination cards, but three men who later joined them didn’t. And the host allegedly spewed a racial slur at them, instigating the fight. Black Lives Matter protests outside the restaurant ensued. Security footage of the encounter surfaced without dispelling either side’s contentions. The Republican mayoral candidate, firmly anti-vaccination mandates, nonetheless dined at the restaurant in a show of solidarity with the employees. Like much of this year’s discourse, one could slot the Carmine’s encounter into any number of countervailing outrage narratives, be it racial bias in America or the problems with Covid-19 policy mandates. But, Read writes, it’s undeniable that “[c]aught at the center of it all was another 2021 archetype: the beleaguered frontline worker, in a never-ending pandemic, taking everyone else’s shit.” —Matthew Sedacca

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