French Restaurant Chain Receives Threats Fueled By Poutine-Putin Confusion

After news of Russian troops moving into Ukraine made shockwaves, people around the world scrambled to find ways in which they could signal their support for or aid citizens of the besieged nation. Some, like chef José Andrés, flew down to Ukraine's border to cook hot meals for fleeing refugees (via Eater). Some folks for whom on-ground support was not possible resolved to reprimand Russia. It seems that in the minds of some, condemning the government's actions translates into boycotting all things related to the country.

The rush to boycott Russian goods, however, has caused much confusion over political allegiances. In one notorious misunderstanding, bar owners across the U.S. dumped what used to be known as Stolichnaya vodka. However, as CNN explains, the owner was exiled from Russia for opposing Vladimir Putin. In fact, Charlotte Observer reports that the brand's vodka is actually made in Latvia, and the company has locations in nearby countries, including Ukraine. The mix-up even prompted Stolichnaya to rebrand itself as "Stoli."

A restaurant chain in France has also found itself on the wrong side of misplaced public fury. According to Today, La Maison de la Poutine, or "The House of Poutine," has been mistakenly associated with Russian President Putin. In reality, all the name shows that the chain serves the famous Quebecois dish of French fries covered in cheese curds and gravy known as poutine.

People are taking out their anti-Putin anger on poutine

Per Today, La Maison de la Poutine has four outlets in France, all of which specialize in making poutine. Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine however, people have bombarded the business with threatening and insulting phone calls related to Putin. "We have up to five or six calls per hour," says the co-founder. The restaurant attempted to clear things up on Twitter. According to a translation posted on Today, the message emphasized that the eatery has no links to Russia or its president and stands by the people of Ukraine. "Poutine," the message reportedly, said, "was created by passionate cooks who were eager to bring joy and comfort to their customers."

Concerns of the similarity of "Putin" and "poutine," it seems, have influenced the behavior of eateries. Le Roy Jucep, a restaurant based in Drummondville, Canada, that calls itself the inventor of poutine, has announced that it will temporarily refrain from using the word online as a way to show "deep dismay" with the Russian president (via Ottawa Citizen). The restaurant is currently calling itself "the inventor of the fries cheese gravy" instead. Another restaurant in France called Frites Alors! changed the name of a particular dish on its menu. Previously called "Vladamir" in a witty wordplay, the signature poutine dish is now called "The Mother of Poutines."