A promotional event for the Philly Naked Bike Ride had quite an impression at Rocket Cat Café on Friday — so much so that the restaurant has apologized for allowing a nude man to lead it in-store.
Philly Naked Bike Ride co-organizer Tom Dimitriou had reportedly been approved to have the promotion Friday by café owner Karen Breese, who says she believed Dumitriou would be passing out flyers while covered just-so in body paint.
But, of course, that isn't exactly what happened. As Breese told Philadelphia magazine:
"My perception of what body paint means is not a couple of paint splashes on somebody's torso. That is not what I was picturing, and I should have asked what that meant to him so we were on the same page."
Another point of clarification: The promotion's starting time, as Dimitriou reportedly showed up significantly earlier than the café expected. As a result, Breese wasn't on-hand to deal with the situation, and many employees apparently were unaware the event was scheduled.
And so, of course, were Rocket Cat's unsuspecting patrons. Via Yelp commenter Sarah Grey, who also managed to snap the images you see presented here:
I've been coming here for about a decade despite the stingy, mediocre food and spotty wi-fi, but I'm done. Today a creepy guy (I've encountered him before) was allowed to walk around NAKED for more than an hour. I was happily working away and suddenly found this dude's junk in my face. I complained to the staff but they said the owner had given him permission. (I called the cops anyway, but they never showed.) The owner, of course, wasn't actually there — she left it to the baristas to cope with the situation. So if you like coffee shops that inflict naked creepers on you and your children without warning or consent, you'll love the Rocket Cat!
Breese has since posted an apology to Rocket Cat's Facebook page in which she admits the "event did not go as hoped":
In regard to the Philly Naked Bike Ride promotional event that happened earlier today at the cafe: We would like to apologize to anyone who may have been offended or made uncomfortable. We are very sorry that this event did not go as hoped. We understand that it is our job to ensure that any event be handled responsibly and with the best interests of our customers comfort in mind. We hope to provide a safe space at the Rocket Cat for all of our customers and to engage in the larger community by promoting groups who advocate for issues we believe in.
For all Breese's damage control, though, Dimitriou seems much less apologetic:
Dimitriou, though, was less apologetic. He also downplayed critiques from customers who said that they were forced to see him nude without giving their permission. "I had permission from the owner. I figured that's good enough. This thing about consent is an affront to our civil liberties. If someone gives you permission to be naked at their venue, and you don't like it, then leave." Likewise, he brushed off concerns that children at the café saw him naked. "That business about nudity hurting children is a lot of baloney," he said.
Asked if he thought the "promotion" was a mistake, he said, "I wouldn't do it there again because I don't feel I have the total support of the owner."
And despite the promotion's decidedly epic failure, the Philly Naked Bike Ride will still be going down Saturday, August 29.