Coffee shop fires workers after antisemitic behavior towards Jews

  • Three staff at Farley’s East Coffee Shop in Oakland blocked a Jewish woman from documenting anti-Semitic graffiti in their bathroom 
  • Following backlash to the video, Farley’s East was forced to publicly apologize 
  • The family-owned café apologized last week but has since reiterated its stance against hate and now fired the three members of staff involved

All three California coffee shop workers who were caught on camera trying to kick out a Jewish woman after she complained about anti-Semitic graffiti in their restroom have been fired.

Staff at Farley’s East in Oakland blocked the woman as she tried to enter the bathroom to take a picture of the writing, which said ‘Zionism = Fascism’ and ‘your neutrality is enabling genocide’.

She was berated by staff who repeatedly told her to leave the ‘private property’ – with one of the three employees telling her: ‘I know Israel loves taking private property and saying it’s their own, but we gotta head.’

At first, the family-owned café has apologized for the incident and said it has taken ‘corrective measures’ against the staff – but now the owners have gone further and fired those involved.

 ‘On Sunday, we fell short of this vision [where community-building and placemaking would create a safe space where anyone and everyone feels welcome].

‘What began as a civil dialogue between our staff and a Jewish customer escalated into a situation that was shocking and unacceptable. Events like these strike fear in the Jewish community and perpetuate the rise of anti-Semitism in our community and around the world,’ Amy and Chris Hillyard, the owners of Farley’s posted online.

One former staff member could be seen blocking the woman from opening the restroom door

A third member of staff  appeared equally determined to prevent the woman from entering the restroom

Writing scrawled in the cafe's bathroom said 'Zionism = Fascism' and 'Your neutrality is enabling genocide'

They added that acts of hate would not be permitted within their business.

‘We do not tolerate any behavior at Farley’s that makes people feel unwelcome or unsafe. Because this act was not aligned with our values, the employees involved in the incident are no longer employed by Farley’s,’ the Hillyard’s continued.

The video showed the woman facing off against three employees who barred her from entering the restroom.

One staff member in a yellow beanie told her: ‘It is private property, I do need you to leave.’

Her colleague then jumped in, saying: ‘I know Israel loves taking private property and saying it’s their own, but we gotta head.’

The woman responds in disbelief: ‘You are not going to let me in the restroom?’ 

She is then asked to leave once again by the worker in the yellow hat who accuses the woman of mis-gendering a colleague.

The altercation continued and the woman – referring to the graffiti inside – asks: ‘Why are you afraid that I will take a picture of it if you agree with it?’

The woman had spotted the graffiti and complained to staff who then tried to prevent her returning to take a picture

At one point, the woman was asked to leave the private property, before an employee jumped in with 'I know Israel loves taking private property and saying it's their own, but we gotta head.'

It eventually prompts the group to relent and let her into the bathroom, where the woman films the writing that has been scrawled on a bathroom mirror and baby changing table. 

‘Your neutrality/apathy is enabling genocide’ can be seen written on a diaper-changing station while ‘Zionism = fascism’ is written on the mirror above the sink.

As she zooms in, one of the employees shouts: ‘History didn’t start in 1948 lady’ in reference to the year the State of Israel was established.

Once she has obtained the video footage she desired, the woman is ushered out of the bathroom while the staff shout ‘Free Palestine’ at her. 

Following the backlash to the video, Farley’s East was forced to publicly apologize.

‘We want to offer an acknowledgement and a sincere apology. As context, hate speech graffiti was written in our bathroom. We do not support hate speech; this does not reflect our values,’ the café said in a statement on Facebook.

‘After a customer used the bathroom and wished to return to document the graffiti, they were initially denied access and then allowed to enter the bathroom to film the graffiti. 

‘We apologize for this error and the distress caused to the customer. We’ve taken corrective measures with our staff and removed the offensive graffiti. 

‘We’re not anti-Semitic; we value diversity and inclusivity. We’re committed to ongoing staff training for a safe and welcoming environment.’

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