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The French Poutine Restaurant Targeted By Putin Haters Says It Got 6 Nasty Calls An Hour

The director of operations told us more details about the "disturbing" experience and provided an update.

Contributing Writer
Russian President Vladimir Putin. Right: Sauce being poured on a poutine.

Russian President Vladimir Putin. Right: Sauce being poured on a poutine.

Earlier this month, a poutine restaurant chain in France took to social media to clarify its lack of ties to "the Russian regime and its leader," claiming it had received "calls of insults and even threats" from people thinking its name meant it was affiliated with Vladimir Putin.

Vladimir Putin translates to Vladimir Poutine in French, as both spellings were adapted from the Cyrillic Russian spelling.

MTL Blog spoke to La Maison de la Poutine's director of operations, Paloma Sterzati, about what she called a "disturbing and stressful" experience for staff. Sterzati also provided an update on where things stand now.

Can you tell me more about the insults and threats the restaurant received?

"[We got] telephone threats that we didn't take seriously — up to six calls per hour for our restaurant at 11 rue Mandar in the 2nd arrondissement of Paris. It's just disturbing and stressful for the teams to be interrupted in the middle of service by negative and useless calls. There were also people shouting at the staff from the street," Sterzati said.

She said people who called and shouted at the staff would make "disparaging remarks about the name of the restaurant, which they thought was sincerely linked to the Russian dictator" and that some people even insisted they change the name of the restaurant as soon as possible.

"The feedback from our teams [who were working in the restaurants at the time] was a bit shocking. We didn't think we would be the victim of such a misunderstanding. After all, poutine has been the emblematic Quebec dish since the 1950s, and this is very clearly explained in our restaurants," Sterzati said.

Did your social media post help? How are things now?

Sterzati said that in addition to posting a clarification on social media, they also posted the message at the entrance of their restaurants. Since then, she said things have quieted down.

"[The insults and threats] really diminished and the teams are reassured. Our main aim was to reassure and protect them, as they are the ones who live with the incivilities of people who make the connection with the Russian Dictator on a daily basis," Sterzati said.

"We ultimately got a lot of good feedback and support after we posted the clarification message [...] We didn't expect so much love and understanding. A huge thank you to the people who took the time to be positive towards us."

This article's cover image was used for illustrative purposes only.

This interview has been condensed and edited for clarity.

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