Vandals SMASH windows of West London restaurant just days after owner’s feud with trans activists
Vandals raid restaurant after JK Rowling and friends raised £18,500 for charity and the owner was targeted by trans activists on social media with a stream of hate messages and one-star reviews
- West London restaurant Il Portico had its windows smashed by vandals
- It comes days after sister venue Pino’s held a fundraiser hosted by JK Rowling
- Owner James Chiavarini says his restaurants have been trolled with one-star reviews
- “My business ransack happened the same week as the pile,” he said
A London restaurateur who defended JK Rowling in an online spat with trans activists has shared footage after the windows of one of his businesses were smashed.
Last week, Harry Potter author and journalist Suzanne Moore – who have both expressed critical views on the genre – held an event at Pino’s Italian restaurant in Kensington for Ukrainian children’s charity Lumos, raising a total of £18,500.
James Chiavarini, owner of Pino’s and Il Portico, considered London’s oldest Italian family restaurant, tweeted his thanks for the couple’s custom.
But within days, his restaurants were followed by one-star web reviews, with one calling his establishment a “proponent of transphobia” and another declaring, “If you’re trans, you don’t you are not welcome here”.
Yesterday morning, Mr Chiavarini arrived at Il Portico to find that the company’s windows had been smashed.
Businessman James Chiavarini tweeted an image of the damage to his restaurant Il Portico, just a week after a fundraiser was organized by JK Rowling at his other restaurant Pino’s
James Chiavarini, outside his restaurant Il Portico in Kensington, says the windows of his business were smashed days after a ‘pile’ of trans rights activists
He tweeted: ‘In the same week as online accusations of being homophobic for defending JK Rowling and Suzanne Moore, followed fake bad reviews, now someone has smashed the portico windows and trashed the place.
‘It could of course be a coincidence, but only a few days!’
In subsequent tweets, Mr Chiavarini clarified that the glass had been tempered and shattered from the outside.
He added: “The organized stack of extremist TRAs [trans right activists] is real for everyone to see. They slandered by business and my character with false accusations in an attempt to get revenge because I stand (proudly) with Suzanne Moore and JK Rowling, whom I admire and respect immensely.
“The ransacking of my business happened the same week as the pile. As it stands, it is impossible to prove that the two are related.
“I suspect I will never know for sure. For now, there is no tangible proof, only a coincidence.
Mr Chiavarini was inundated with support following the incident.
Feminist journalist Hadley Freeman wrote, “Oh my God, James, this is awful! I’m so sorry you have to deal with this!
Piers Morgan called the vandalism ‘disgusting’ and added: ‘This restaurant has helped the people of Kensington throughout the pandemic, including delivering meals to those who needed it most during lockdown.
“Please go support him with your custom, to show these vile tyrants they will never win.”
A source told the Daily Mail: “James is absolutely distraught and has been completely taken aback by this. The matter is now in the hands of the police, who are investigating. The restaurant has CCTV so I hope that those who destroyed it will be found.
“James thought he was doing a decent thing by hosting an event for such a good cause and was shocked at the backlash.
“He also has a number of regular customers from the trans community and would hate to think they might believe there is any truth to these online comments.
“His restaurants welcome everyone and always have. To suggest that James is anti-everything is pure nonsense.
Rowling declined to comment on the incident but promised to match the fundraiser for Lumos, which is almost £1million.