Salt Bae is facing harsh criticism after feeding Venezuelan president Nicolás Maduro.
The viral sensation won the hearts of millions with his unique, maybe unsanitary, way of salting slabs of meat for his adoring fans. However, some of that love has soured after Salt Bae, whose real name is Nusret Gökçe, posted videos to Instagram of him serving Venezuela’s president and his wife. President Maduro was in Istanbul, Turkey when he visited Nusr-Et steakhouse for a taste of the celebrity chef’s famous steaks. Maduro was on his way home from a trip to China where he was trying to raise money to help the failing South American country. Venezuelan citizens have lost 24 pounds on average since 2017 because of the economic disaster that has left 90 percent of the population in poverty. The videos of Maduro and Gökçe acting like pals has caused severe backlash and Gökçe has deleted the videos from his Instagram page. However, the internet never forgets and screen recordings live forever. President Maduro and Gökçe shared a hug at the end of the post and the two spoke about reconnecting in Caracas, Venezuela in the future.
Upset Venezuelans and sympathizers have taken to Gökçe’s Instagram account to air their anger.
CREDIT: anjasuso / Instagram
There’s nothing a few emojis can’t say.
Others have suggested that he should visit Venezuela and experience the economic collapse personally.
CREDIT: joslingmontilva / Instagram
Venezuela’s economy has been on a sever downward spiral since 2015. The economic crisis led to political and social unrest as citizens of the South American country lost everything, including the ability to buy food.
And some people started calling for a boycott of Gökçe’s restaurants.
CREDIT: alberto_ossa_j / Instagram
Venezuelans across the world are infuriated at images of President Maduro and his wife eating steak while their citizens starve and fall deeper into economic despair.
Fans and social media followers are asking for an apology.
CREDIT: danielpalobicho / Instagram
As of the writing of this article, Gökçe has only deleted the posts and seems to act like nothing happened. Not once has he acknowledged the anger from fans and Venezuelans.
A lot of people are furious at his silence in the face of mounting criticism.
CREDIT: wjempire / Instagram
While President Maduro and Gökçe continue their lives, outrage has mounted and protests have sprung up in front of Nusr-Et steakhouses.
Angry Venezuelans and supports protested in front of Gökçe’s Miami restaurant.
— Claudia (@TXClaCla) September 19, 2018
Thousands of Venezuelans have fled from the South American country and sought shelter in Miami. Much like the Cuban population, they have made the south Florida city their home and are using their voice to bring attention to the catastrophe of their homeland.
The crowd chanted, “Boycott. Boycott. Boycott.”
— Nestor Mato NBC6 (@NestorMatoTV) September 19, 2018
Hundreds of Venezuelans and sympathizers made it clear that they will not be silenced. Their anger and outrage caused a stir in front of the restaurant as the crowd demanded an apology.
Despite protests, Gökçe has remained silent.
In case you were wondering whether there would be protests at the Miami restaurant over #SaltBae hosting Venezuelan leader Nicolas Maduro in Turkey, here’s your answer. @MiamiHerald @MiamiHeraldFood pic.twitter.com/qjly65zg12
— Carlos Frías (@Carlos_Frias) September 19, 2018
A look through his Instagram shows several posts since the videos were taken down of him in suits and sunglasses modeling for the camera. Fans are waiting for an official apology from Gökçe.