Philly chef Vetri called out for transphobic tweet, apologizes

Dr. Rachel Levine (left) and Restaurateur Marc Vetri (Bastiaan Slabbers for WHYY / Billy Penn)

Dr. Rachel Levine (left) and Restaurateur Marc Vetri (Bastiaan Slabbers for WHYY / Billy Penn)

Prominent Philadelphia restaurateur Marc Vetri is apologizing for misgendering Pennsylvania Health Secretary Rachel Levine in a tweet Monday.

Vetri re-tweeted a journalist’s tweet reporting that Levine was banning alcohol sales at restaurants and bars on the night before Thanksgiving with the comment: “He can go F*** himself!,” followed by a laughing smiley face.

Outspoken before the pandemic, Vetri has emerged as a leader of Philadelphia’s anti-lockdown movement — frequently using colorful language to question the efficacy of government restaurant restrictions to his 31,000 Twitter followers.

When Twitter users began to point out that Vetri had misgendered Levine, he immediately claimed it was unintentional, and apologized.

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Levine has been subject to transphobic harassment since the pandemic thrust her into the spotlight last spring. In May, a Pittsburgh radio host repeatedly misgendered Levine on a call, prompting her to correct him. In July, a Tioga county restaurant printed a menu featuring a transphobic item description that targeted the secretary.

“While these individuals may think that they are only expressing their displeasure with me, they are, in fact, hurting the thousands of LGBTQ Pennsylvanians who suffer directly from these current demonstrations of harassment,” Levine said at a July briefing.

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