Woman Whose Racist Rant in Pizza Shop Went Viral Faces Up to 6 Months in Jail
“You’re not American, dude!”
A Pennsylvania woman who verbally confronted a pizzeria owner for playing a Spanish TV show in the restaurant may be facing six months in prison, Law & Crime reported this week. Rita Bellew confronted Omar Quiñonez, an owner of Amy's Family Pizzeria in Hatboro, over the choice of in-store entertainment, calling him un-American and an illegal immigrant. Bellew's tirade was recorded by an employee of the pizzeria, and the video went viral online and on TV news stations across the country. Read on to find out more, including what Bellew said and what criminal charge resulted.
"I'm Not Giving My Money to Some Illegal Immigrant"
On Feb. 23, Bellew visited Amy's and confronted Quiñonez, who was behind the counter, about the Spanish-language program. After the video begins, Bellew tells him her family had been in Hatboro for 200 years. "You want to have Spanish on your TV?" Bellew asks Quiñonez. "What's wrong with that?" Quiñonez asks. "You're not American, dude!" Bellew says, her voice rising. "I will look you the [curse word] up and get you the [curse word] out of our town." She then demands a refund for her order. "I'm not giving my money to some illegal immigrant," she says.
"You're the Racist"
Bellew tells Quiñonez that playing Spanish-language TV is "a [curse word] you to Americans." She says that her father is a World War II veteran and tells Quiñonez he's an "ignoramus." When Bellew notices the employee who is recording the confrontation, she calls the employee a "victim," then pulls out her own cellphone to begin recording the pizzeria employees. "You're the racist," she says.
"They Are Videotaping Me Because I Am White"
"I'm at Amy's, and I am being bullied," Bellew says into her phone. "They are videotaping me because I am white. See that? They're calling me a racist because I am white."
"No no," an offscreen voice is heard saying. "We're calling you a racist because you're racist." Bellew continues to demand a refund and says she is the target of discrimination. "You call me racist because I am white," she says. "Why? I'm waiting." Soon a police officer enters the restaurant. "Hi," Bellew says to him. "I know you." The video ends shortly thereafter.
Charges: Harassment and Ethnic Intimidation
Last Friday, the Montgomery County District Attorney's Office said it would pursue criminal charges against Bellew. "Rita Bellew, 55, of Hatboro PA has been charged via summons with Ethnic Intimidation and Harassment following a disturbance that occurred on February 23, 2023 at Amy's Family Pizzeria in the 300 block of South York Road in Hatboro," the Hatboro Police Department and the DA's office said in a statement last Friday. According to the statement, police were dispatched to the pizzeria shortly after 6pm on Feb. 23 to investigate a report of a disturbance. "Police de-escalated the disturbance involving Bellew and learned that an employee video recorded Bellew prior to police arriving," the statement says. "The video shows Bellew berating the staff of the restaurant with a profane, racially fueled tirade. Bellew was apparently triggered, at least in part, by a Spanish broadcast being shown on television in the restaurant."
Faces Six Months In Prison
The harassment charge against Bellew is a summary offense in Pennsylvania, a minor offense. The ethnic intimidation charge is a third degree misdemeanor, meaning Bellew faces a maximum fine of $3,000 and six months behind bars. Bellew has told the Philadelphia Inquirer she is "profoundly sorry" about the tirade. She called herself "conservative, but not necessarily a Trump supporter," said she had connections to immigrants through her Irish grandparents, and claimed she is being treated for breast cancer.