Artist Pushes Woman to Lose Control

By Doreen R

We’re living in a time where every single moment can be documented for eternity. Thanks to smartphones, we always have an opportunity to record an event in real-time. This fact has both its good and bad sides, depending on how we choose to view it. Let’s focus on a video that went viral; we’re talking nearly 20 million views. We are referring to the interaction between renowned artist Romero Britto and restaurant owner Madeliene Sanchez. An event occurred in Romero’s Miami based art gallery that was caught on video. Thanks to the person who taped the altercation, we can see what events need to occur to drive someone over the edge. It also allows us to look inside ourselves and ask if we’d behave the same or differently.

We will delve into this story’s specifics while examining both sides’ versions as objectively as possible. It’ll be hard not to side with one or the other, but it’s important to think about the facts. It’s very possible it’s all a matter of perception and how one person viewed the event, as opposed to if it’s a fact or not.

Let Us Introduce Romero Britto

Romero Britto was born in Brazil in 1963. He’s an accomplished and respected painter and sculptor. His art consists of cubism, graffiti, and pop art, all while displaying bright colors and vivid patterns. His work and his vision articulates his hope, happiness, and dreams of a better world for all.  

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Growing up in Brazil, he was one of nine children. It’s fair to say he didn’t get a lot of attention from his parents, which is understandable when one has 8 brothers and sisters. He didn’t grow up wealthy or privileged and managed to be creative with whatever he could find, even if that meant newspapers or strips of paper. He took the most inane objects and turned them into amazing works of art.

Britto and His Art

It wasn’t long before the world began to take notice of his talent. Britto’s art is currently enjoyed by an expanding audience, including a growing number of celebrities, such as Elton John, Michael Jordon, Marc Anthony, and many more. He is known the world over for his optimism and unique aesthetic.

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The artist is now expanding his client base by delving into the realm of digital art, allowing more customers to be able to afford his special works of art. For the sake of this article, it’s important to note that Britto’s art gallery is located on Lincoln Rd. in Miami, Florida.

Please meet Madelyne Sanchez

Madelyne Sanchez manages the Brazilian restaurant Tepelia in Miami, FL. The restaurant is also located on Lincoln Rd. Within walking distance of Romero Britto’s art gallery. Since the gallery was close to the restaurant, Sanchez did go in several times to admire the Romero’s works of art.

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She was so enamored with the artist that her husband surprised her with a sculpture that paid homage to New York City. She was beyond thrilled to own the sculpture and became an even bigger fan of the Britto.

The Big Apple Comes to Miami

A few months before the encounter that went viral, Sanchez’s husband gifted his wife a sculpture by Romero Britto, entitled The Porcelain Big Apple. The sculpture was a smaller version of the original piece, and her husband paid close to $5k for the whimsical heart-shaped sculpture.

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The sculpture was signed by the artist and seemed like a good investment. The gift was appreciated by Sanchez, who was becoming friendly with Britton. She was excited when the artist spoke to her about visiting her restaurant for breakfast with his friends.

Britto and Sanchez are Friendly

Even before the breakfast encounter, Britto and Sanchez were becoming friendly. They had a lot in common, including their love of Latin food. The artist was a regular at Tepelia, where Sanchez was the manager. He would pop in frequently to grab a quick bite or some take-out.

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Sanchez also visited the gallery on occasion to see the latest art by the talented Britto. In general, the two got along, Sanchez was a fan of the artist, and the artist was a fan of Tepalia’s food.  If only the restaurant had not taken that reservation, the story would end here.

Tepelia Welcomes Britto and His Party

Tepelia is a successful South American establishment. With a casual ambiance, many enjoy the friendly staff, delicious latin cuisine, and good tunes the envelop the restaurant. Located within walking distance of Britto’s art gallery, the restaurant is a popular choice for visitors and locals alike.

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In 2018 new local ordinances began banning music from restaurants, and Tepelia was forced to lower the volume and comply. While diners were peeved at the city’s request, the restaurant continues to serve quality food, and the staff greets guests with great energy.

Britto Books a Reservation at Tepelia

Okay, so we know that Britto and Sanchez were becoming friends. They both worked on the same street; their paths crossed often. Britto, a native Brazilian, was missing the food of his birthplace, and it wasn’t long before he figured out that Sanchez managed a restaurant specializing in Brazilian cuisine.  Before long, he was hooked on the food.

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Britton went ahead and reserved a table for breakfast one morning for himself and some friends, totaling 20 people. Sanchez was happy to oblige and prepared a large table for the party and looked forward to having the artist dine in her restaurant with his friends.  

Britto and Party Arrive for Breakfast

Sanchez had prepared her staff that Britto and his party were expected for breakfast and wanted to make sure it would be the first of many more large events. The artist and his friends arrived and took their seats in the Miami based eatery. This is where things started to go south.

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According to Sanchez, the artist and his guests were quick to complain about anything and everything. They asked that the music be turned down. They asked that the waitstaff not speak to them.  Britto even went to far as to ask that no one be seated next to their table, basically requesting that the restaurant be shut down for him and his party.

Britto Asked for  Discount

During the breakfast, the staff continued to be subjected to the artist’s many demands and complaints. They claim to have been spoken to disrespectfully during their meal as well. After turning down the music, not speaking directly to anyone, and turning away people at the door, the bill for breakfast was handed to Britto.

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Sanchez claims that the artist asked for a discount on the bill, which averages $8.00 per person for breakfast. She didn’t state whether she gave him a break on the bill or not. The bill was paid, and the staff and manager alike were glad when the party left the establishment.

Sanchez is Fuming

Sanchez prides her restaurant, staff, and atmosphere as being akin to a family reunion. It’s a lively eatery with music, friendly staff, and great food.  Sanchez was fuming by the way Britto and his party behaved towards the staff and vowed to follow this matter up with the artist directly.

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The staff let it be known to Sanchez that they were humiliated and demoralized during Britto’s visit, and they hoped they wouldn’t have to endure it a second time. Sanchez’s temper was getting the best of her. She promised her staff the matter wasn’t over yet.

Madelyne Refuses to Let It Go

Madelyne, who manages Tepelia, also manages their Instagram page and wasn’t shy about documenting what happened at the restaurant. Considering the restaurant has 150k followers, she seemed to know what she was doing and proceeded to vent her frustration.

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Sanchez was quick to shame Britto and call him out for his treatment of her staff. She went on to say she was no longer a fan and was truly disillusioned by the events in her restaurant. But the problem with this was that Britto wasn’t a follower and wasn’t being held accountable for his actions.

Sanchez Faces Off With Britto

It didn’t take long for Sanchez to plan her next move. Sanchez found out that Britto would be holding a showing in the gallery across the street from her restaurant in the coming days. She made sure she had her beloved sculpture with her and headed over to Britto’s gallery.

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There were throngs of fans and customers in the gallery, and Britto was holding court. The artist was in a good mood, chatting with several patrons in the shop, when Sanchez stepped up, in front of Britto, holding the sculpture in her hands.  She began to recount her staff’s version of events to Britton and then smashed the sculpture in front of the artist.

The Confrontation that Went Viral

Sanchez was loud and obviously emotional as she was verbally berating Britto while accusing him of being disrespectful to her staff. Before she smashed the sculpture, she made sure he knew that she was no longer a fan, and to illustrate how she felt about him, she smashed the sculpture by dropping it on the floor.

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The entire event was caught on a witness’s phone, and it didn’t take long for it to land on YouTube. It also didn’t take long for it to go viral and for people to have an opinion. Within days it was all anyone was talking about.

Did Sanchez Go Too Far?

While the video is short, it’s long enough to get an impression of what happened.  We clearly witness Madelyne Sanchez literally flipping out and screaming at the artist. She was verbally assaulting the artist with many witnesses nearby, who appeared to be in shock at what was happening.

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The video has us questioning if the restaurant manager went too far. Maybe she’d have achieved more sympathy had she allowed Britto to respond or at least get a word in. But she appeared to be so adamant at making her point; there was no way she was going to listen to reason at that stage.

Romero’s Response is Questionable

While the artist never addressed Sanchez’s claims, he was quick to take to Twitter and respond to the incident. He focused on the potential injuries that could have been sustained by Sanchez’s actions. He didn’t confirm or deny her claims at any point.

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He stated that the video didn’t show the entire encounter and that viewers were drawn to the drama instead of the facts.  He continued to convey his message of joy and hope, but again, he didn’t address anything Sanchez accused him of.

The Artist Claims Innocence

Romero Britto isn’t claiming he’s in the right or wrong here but is adamant in his claims that he had no idea what was taking place that afternoon. When Sanchez stormed up to him with the sculpture, he was sure she wanted his signature on the piece of art.

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He didn’t have a chance to say a word or clarify the situation before Sanchez smashed the porcelain sculpture on the floor of his gallery. If we’re gauging by the video, he is as shocked as are the spectators in the gallery.

Romero the Victim

Not only did the artist not refute the restaurant manager’s claims, he went on to claim he was a victim of her verbal assault.  He went on to say that people are more interested in drama, sensationalism, and pure negativity and that alone made him sad for humanity.

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In researching this article, we have yet to find any documentation of the artist rebuking or denying the actual claims made by Sanchez and her staff. This alone as us questioning if there are even two sides to this unfortunate saga.

19 Million Views

While the video was posted on YouTube and other social media platforms, it must have resonated with viewers. Within days the incident already had 19 million views, and people were talking. The topic was about how managers should go to bat for their staff, as Sanchez clearly did.

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Others were as confused as the artist and felt Sanchez should have allowed Britto to respond before smashing the sculpture. Either way, people were talking, and the conversation turned into a moral dilemma very quickly. With 19 million views, there were a plethora of opinions.

The Media Gets Involved

The story was gathering momentum on social media, and it wasn’t long before news outlets around the globe got involved. There are numerous interviews on various local and global news networks that interviewed both Sanchez and Britto.

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The interviews garnered a lot of interest and kept the discussion going, which isn’t always bad. Arguments for and against Sanchez were quick to follow. The same goes for Britto, many believe Sanchez is telling the truth, and Britto is simply playing the victim.

Let’s Look Inward

Now that we have all the details of this saga let’s take an introspective look at how we’d handle the same situation. Let’s be as honest as possible. Maybe many of us wouldn’t have reacted like Sanchez in the same situation, but let’s imagine a different scenario.

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Let’s picture that someone was disrespecting our significant other, or maybe even our child. Sure, maybe if a co-worker was being disrespected at work, we might mind our own business, but now imagine that the co-worker was also a close friend. It basically comes down to how does the scenario affects our personal being.

We Live in an Era Where Everything is Documented

Let’s never forget we’re in the 21st century. The majority of us have our trusty smartphone and we can record every moment of our lives and share it with the world. Whether that’s good or bad isn’t the point, the point is we can and many of us do.

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We all know the saying, ‘A picture is worth a thousand words,’ which is a prime example of why some stories go viral, and others never barely garner a raised eyebrow. Viral videos have a way of making us take a closer look at ourselves, and it usually touches something in us.

Sometimes We Must Speak Up

Many of us witness people being disrespectful to others. We see it in shops, restaurants, and even in the workplace. It’s what we do about it that counts. Sure many of us don’t feel it’s our place to get involved. But if we all thought like that, this would be a very ugly world.

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Sometimes we see something so wrong that we refuse to stay quiet, but having the guts to speak out takes a lot of courage. That’s most likely what this story had so many people talking. This is one reason the majority sided with Madelyne Sanchez.

What Happened Next

The story got so many people talking, and from the looks of it, most sided with Madelyne Sanchez. She was applauded for having her staff’s best interest and not backing down. She also felt justified in her actions because Britto never disputed what happened at the restaurant.

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Sanchez banned the artist from Tepelia, although we’re pretty sure that Britto wasn’t planning any business lunches there anytime soon. But the fact that she made it known that there was a ban proved she was sticking to her guns and didn’t regret her outburst.

There’s No Such Thing as Bad Publicity

The quote dates back to the 19th century and was by the infamous circus owner P.T. Barnum. It’s also befitting in this story since even bad publicity is still publicity. Good or bad, the artist’s name is now on people’s minds. Sanchez’s restaurant also isn’t hurting after the story.

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Many who never knew about the artist have become aware of his unique style, so that’s not bad. Sanchez is being applauded for standing up for her staff, and that alone should have people coming into the restaurant,  in hopes of meeting the manager who smashed a $4,800 work of art to make a point.  

 The Story That Refuses to Die

For those who aren’t aware, this encounter happened in 2017. But for some reason, it’s been resurrected and is again making waves; only we’re not sure what brought this on. We love drama, no doubt, but there has to be a reason this story keeps making a comeback.

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From what we’re gathering, each time Britto or the restaurant are mentioned online or in the news, the encounter between Sanchez and Britto is rehashed yet again. This alone can explain why years later, people are still talking about it.

TikTok Won’t Let it Die

TikTok has now gotten hold of the video, and it’s making yet another resurgence. It’s safe to say as long as there are social media platforms, the Sanchez and Britto brawl will live on forever. It’ll be interesting to see how many people will be exposed to this story.

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Considering TikTok’s growing popularity with a younger demographic, this story will likely gain a whole new following. While Sanchez has removed her video from the restaurant’s Instagram page, it still appears elsewhere. This proves that once it’s online, it’s never gone forever.

Maybe We’re Not Supposed to Forget

Another reason this story keeps rearing its head is that we’re not supposed to forget what really happened. We’re not supposed to forget our obligations to our employees, friends, and family. We’re expected to stand up for injustices and make our voices heard when something isn’t right.

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Each time Britto’s name is mentioned in the media he may be reminded to respect others and not expect preferential treatment. There’s something almost poetic about this story not vanishing in an era when news stories are so abundant they’re impossible to keep track of.

It’s Important to Remember Our Roots

While we’re not begrudging Britto’s fame and wealth, sometimes it’s important to remember where we started. Britto is living the high life now and may feel some sense of entitlement. Hopefully, this incident reminded him of where he came from.

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His early beginnings in Brazil didn’t happen too long ago, and maybe his encounter with the staff of Tepelia reminded him of how fortunate he really is. Britto is also extremely lucky that this incident didn’t backfire on him and ruin all he had built. It may just be the wakeup call he needed.

Maybe Britto Should’ve Apologized

Maybe if the artist had taken responsibility, the entire issue would have been squashed. Had he copped to being obnoxious and really showed some remorse, this might have died down rather quickly. But that would have been a shame that we all need to agree on.

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Sometimes the public is just thirsty for a juicy story that plays against good and evil. By not admitting fault or addressing the claims, the artist left us with an opening to judge him while praising Sanchez for defending her staff. Either way, we’re glad this played out as it did.

What We Learned

While there was no real closure to this story, we can learn a few things from both Madelyne Sanchez and Romero Britto. We learned that it’s okay to stand up for what one believes in, regardless of the cost. It’s important to respect every single person, regardless of that ranking on the food chain.

Being a famous actor, artist, politician or athlete doesn’t give one the right to disrespect another, ever. And of course, if one doesn’t want to be caught on camera doing something embarrassing or humiliating, it’s simple, just don’t do it.