Kooks Burritos Controversy
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The Kooks Burritos Controversy refers to a backlash against the owners of the Kooks Burrito food cart in Portland, Oregon, who closed their business after being accused of cultural appropriation for starting a Mexican food cart as white women in late May 2017.
On May 16th, 2017, the Willamette Week published an interview with Kali Wilgus and Liz Connelly, the owners of Kooks Burrito food cart launched in Southeast Portland, Oregon.
"I picked the brains of every tortilla lady there in the worst broken Spanish ever, and they showed me a little of what they did. They told us the basic ingredients, and we saw them moving and stretching the dough similar to how pizza makers do before rolling it out with rolling pins. They wouldn't tell us too much about technique, but we were peeking into the windows of every kitchen, totally fascinated by how easy they made it look. We learned quickly it isn't quite that easy."
Two days later, Twitter user @rjhopjr tweeted a link to the article, along with the hashtag "#PoliteWhiteSupremacy" (shown below). On May 19th, Mic published an article titled "These white cooks bragged about stealing recipes from Mexico to start a Portland business" and the Kooks Burritos Yelp page was flooded with negative reviews. That day, the food cart was closed.
Google Doc Spreadsheet
On May 23rd, Reason published an article titled "White-Owned Restaurants Shamed for Serving Ethnic Food," which reported on a Google Docs spreadsheet featuring a list of 60 Portland restaurants with white owners, encouraging viewers to go to competing restaurants owned by people of color.
On May 22nd, The Portland Mercury published an article titled "This Week in Appropriation: Kooks Burritos and Willamette Week," which accused Wilgus and Connely of "cultural appropriation" for being white and starting a Mexican food cart.
"This week in white nonsense, two white women--Kali Wilgus and Liz “LC” Connely--decided it would be cute to open a food truck after a fateful excursion to Mexico."
That day, the article was submitted to /r/Portland, where the top comment referred to the controversy as "a joke" and asked "can you believe we live in a time when people actually give a shit who makes a burrito?" In the coming days, posts about the controversy reached the frontpage of various other subreddits, including /r/news, /r/uncensorednews and /r/KotakuInAction.
News Media Coverage
In the coming days, several news sites published articles about the controversy, including Fox News, The Daily Mail, NY Daily News and HeatStreet.
 Willamette Week – Kooks Serves Pop-Up Breakfast Burritos With Handmade Tortillas Out of a Food Cart on Cesar Chavez
 The Portland Mercury – This Week in Appropriation
 Reddit – /r/portland
 Reason – White-Owned Restaurants Shamed for Serving Ethnic Food
 Google Docs – White-Owned Appropriative Restaurants in Portland
 Mic – These white cooks bragged about stealing recipes from Mexico to start a Portland business
 HeatStreet – Close After Getting Hounded for Stealing From Mexico
 Yelp – Kooks Burritos
 Fox News – Portland burrito shop forced to close amid accusations of cultural appropriation
 The Daily Mail – White womens burrito shop is forced to close after being hounded with accusations
 NY Daily News – Oregon burrito shop run by white women shuts down amid accusations of cultural appropriation
 Reddit – /r/uncensorednews
 Reddit – /r/KotakuInAction
May 25, 2017 at 11:15AM EDT
May 25, 2017 at 02:08PM EDT
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