A woman drew on a bathroom mirror at Duck Duck Goose over the weekend. It only took staff a few minutes to wipe the chalk drawing away, but Chef Ashish Alfred isn’t happy. He says the patron, Emma Jane Goodman, drew an eye and the message “shine bright” on the mirror the same day she behaved badly in his Bethesda bistro. “She was rude to the staff,” Alfred says, adding that when she did not enjoy her shrimp and grits, he had the dish removed from her bill. Goodman counters that she “was nothing but courteous to the staff.”
“Not to sound too dramatic, but it was a kick in the balls,” Alfred says. “You don’t get to be an asshole to my staff and then give them another thing for them to do. In a city where chefs and waiters and managers are really called to task for every little thing we do, we should hold our diners accountable too.”
“I am an artist and a designer and wrote in simple wipeable chalk a positive message on mirrors—I didn’t expect a barrage of cyber bullying or other false accusations or slurs on my character where I do a large amount of work for charity, and helping people out probono,” Goodman tells City Paper via email. “We are talking a little more than writing in steam.”
She typically posts pictures of her art on Instagram, but deactivated her account @drippinginpaint after receiving backlash about the incident. “I changed @drippinginpaint because I didn’t want to be subject to anything that wasn’t propelling a positive vibe,” Goodman says, also in an email.
But before she shut it down, a few people shared screenshots of some of her other work on Alfred’s Facebook page, including one at Hazel with a similar sketch of an eye, plus the words “you are loved.” The Shaw restaurant doesn’t deny that it’s their bathroom. Goodman did not return requests for comment about how the staff at Hazel reacted to her work.
“I certainly am saddened that this has caused the opposite effect it was set out to do,” Goodman continues. “I would never deface property and thought this was similar to leaving flowers for someone to find—a positive message on a mirror … While I should own it like Banksy or other ‘graffiti’ artists, I simply hope that people can be happy and light-hearted about such a thing and see the good in it.”
The buzz about the mirror art began when Alfred posted about it on Facebook.
Things would have been different if Goodman gave the restaurant a heads up, according to Alfred. “Had she come in and said, ‘This is my art form and this is what I do, I want to be the next Bansky,’ cool, write on the mirror. We’ll repost it for you. That would be a cute little story.”