If you've ever walked the gorgeous outdoor mall area in Miami's famed South Beach, then you've definitely seen your fair share of truly eye-catching stores. I always feel a bit giddy whenever I see Dylan's Candy Bar and I have video of my toddler son freaking out at all the candy options there. If high-end clothing, handbags, and jewelry are your thing, they've got your covered there too.
But there's another storefront fixture that's definitively "Miami" for me, and it's probably because it's the first place I ever encountered the man's unique art: Romero Britto's Gallery. The sharp, white walls that stretch up to a yawning ceiling punctuated with colorful and original sculptures and paintings provide as much visual eye candy as Dylan's...well, almost. (Eating painted porcelain and canvas is nowhere near as enjoyable as sour peach rings).
Romero is a celebrated artist with an aesthetic that is undeniably his own. But as original as his work might be, it seems that he has fallen into certain artistic tropes that exist outside of his work and have poured into his life, if one restaurant is to be believed.
The "brilliant artist as an a-hole" is a stereotype that exists in books and movies for a reason: probably because these pretentious and rude folks are based on real people.
Maybe Romero was having a bad day when he visited Tapelia Spanish Cuisine in Miami Beach, or maybe it was a case of miscommunication, but he allegedly was being a big time jerk to the staff at the restaurant according to Madelyne Sanchez, who operates Tapelia. In an interview featured on Instagram account @onlyindade, Madelyne explained the reasoning behind her confrontation with Romero that's now going viral on social media
Madelyne says in the interview that Romero has frequented the restaurant quite a bit and was always quite cheerful and kind whenever he's visited the establishment. She added that Tapelia is the kind of place that prides itself on treating both its employees and guests like family. Which is why she was both confused and angry after hearing that Romero's behavior changed in a visit to their eatery.
The @onlyindade account reports: "Her side of the story is that Mr. Britto himself entered her restaurant with a group of friends and after asking her employees to basically shut down the restaurant for himself, he was very disrespectful and humiliating to her entire staff in various ways. Prior to the incident, Madelyne was a fan of his and her husband gifted her one of his pieces as you all saw... and you saw what happened next."
The event that "happened next" was Madelyne, after corroborating the treatment Romero subjected her staff to, took the $4,800 piece of art to his gallery and after chewing him out for the way he treated her employees and telling him that she used to respect him as an artist, she smashed the piece to the ground right in front of him. You can watch the entire thing below.
Brazilian artist Romero Britto visited this woman's restaurant and treated the employees poorly. She then went to his Miami exhibit to purchase and destroy one of his works.— rrrubencito ☁️ (@sortarican__) August 14, 2020
“Never go to my restaurant and offend my people. I respected you as an artist”pic.twitter.com/0v3ytxjzDC
People are loving the fact that Madelyne decided to stand up to her employees and was willing to break something that costs so much to demonstrate her point.
You don’t f**k with people who handle your food that is rule # 1— Allie Bawdon (@bawdon_allie) August 15, 2020
Others were laughing at the fact that Romero attempted to portray himself as a victim in response to Madelyn's outrage with an Instagram post he penned that says the video doesn't show the entire incident and that people are more attracted to "confusion, drama, and negativity."
He turned off comments cuz he didn't want 2 hear truth. Truth is, regardless if this happened in 2017 or now or ANY time, him coming in w/a party of 20 in her restaurant & asking more discount on already discounted breakfast THEN treating employees badly needed 2 be called out.— Tina Marie (@LadyTi88) August 16, 2020
What do you think of Madelyne's response? Righteous indignation gone too far? Or was she entirely justified?