Three workers at the Oakland, California coffee business Farley’s East were fired not long ago for trying to stop a Jewish woman from taking pictures of anti-Semitic graffiti in the lavatory. Some of the graffiti read: “your neutrality is enabling genocide” and “Zionism = Fascism.”
The incident became more heated when the woman attempted to enter the restroom in order to photograph the defamatory graffiti. The workers who had blocked her way demanded that she vacate the premises, claiming that it was “private property.” The scene was already heated before one of the employees made a controversial statement on Israel and private property.
Amy and Chris Hillyard, who own the café as a family, first apologized and said that the employees in question had been disciplined. But eventually, the reaction became more forceful, and the workers involved in the incident were fired.
Online, the Hillyards voiced their displeasure, saying the gathering did not reflect their goal of making the neighborhood a safe and inviting place for everyone. They made it clear that they will not stand for anti-Semitism or any other kind of bigotry on the job.
A video captures the confrontation, which shows the three staffers denying the woman access to the restroom. She was accused of misgendering a staff worker and denied admission to the lavatory multiple times despite her continuous attempts to picture the graffiti. She gained access to the room and was able to record the messages scrawled on the changing table and bathroom mirror.
Staff members yelled out “Free Palestine” as they removed the woman from the lavatory after taking her evidence.
In light of the widespread condemnation of the event, Farley’s East took to Facebook to offer an official apology. The café apologized for their first decision to refuse the customer entrance to the restroom and made it clear that the hate speech graffiti did not represent their values. In addition, they promised to remove the offending graffiti, apologize to their employees for the mistake, and keep teaching their employees to be welcoming to people of all backgrounds.