Minneapolis Food Hall Ousts Middle Eastern Deli After Racist Social Media Posts by Owner’s Daughter

Holy Land, the popular Middle Eastern food company, is under fire after racist posts made by the daughter of the owner surfaced on Twitter earlier this week. Midtown Global Market, the international food hall, has announced that it is evicting Holy Land’s deli outpost in response to the the comments. And at least one grocery store, Mississippi Market, has already pulled all Holy Land products from its shelves as people call for a boycott of the company on social media.

Beginning as a small shop in 1986, Holy Land has expanded into a sprawling business that includes an eatery, grocery store, catering business, and commercial food business, with a large restaurant and production facility in Northeast Minneapolis and a stand at the Minneapolis/St. Paul Airport. Its hummus, sauces, and flatbreads are carried by several area grocery stores.

On Holy Land’s Facebook page, CEO Majdi Wadi confirmed this week that his daughter, Lianne Wadi, the company’s catering manager, had “posted racial slurs onto social media” prior to her employment with the company, and had been terminated effectively immediately as a result.

Earlier this week, Twitter users surfaced racist posts apparently made in the past by Lianne Wadi, and alleged that the business has a history treating black customers poorly. Calls to boycott the business have grown louder on Twitter over the last day as additional examples of racist content attributed to Lianne Wadi and other family members have continued to emerge on social media. The outcry has culminated so far in the termination of Holy Land’s lease at Midtown Global Market and the removal of its products from the shelves from Mississippi Market.

“On June 4, we were made aware of hateful racist, xenophobic, homophobic, and anti-Semitic social media posts from principal staff at Holy Land,” Mississippi Food Market wrote in a statement on Facebook. “We immediately removed all of their products from our shelves and have severed our relationship.” It is donating the removed items to community food shelves with a disclaimer about why it is donating the products.

“The comments on those posts do not in any way reflect those of the Midtown Global Market,” the market’s management said in a statement. “In fact, they are in direct opposition to the reason Midtown Global Market was created and opened in 2006: to be a shared community space and cultural center that celebrates the diversity of its business owners, guests and visitors. In no way does Midtown Global Market tolerate any words, actions, or activity that do not support our global community.”

Midtown Global Market, located at 920 East Lake Street, is currently closed as a result of damage that occurred during the recent unrest in Minneapolis over the police killing of George Floyd.

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