Employees of a Northern California coffee house seen in a viral video denying a Jewish woman from using a bathroom where there was anti-Israeli graffiti are no longer employed there after their “shocking and acceptable” treatment of the customer, said a statement from the business.
Farley’s East in Oakland was the scene of the video when the woman wanted to take pictures of provocative scribbles she found objectionable.
Footage of the bathroom showed “Zionism = fascism” written on a mirror frame and “Your neutrality/apathy is enabling genocide” scrawled on a diaper-changing station.
When the woman asked to go back in to take pictures, she was blocked by at least three employees, a man and two women, who told her to get out.
“I know Israel loves taking private property and saying it’s their own, but we gotta head,” the man said.
One of the women said: “It is private property, I do need you to leave.”
The workers eventually allowed this customer back into the restroom to take the images as the man appeared to shout, “History didn’t start in 1948, lady,” in apparent reference to the year Israel was established.
Both the man and one of the female employees moments later added: “Free Palestine.”
In a statement posted Saturday, Farley’s owners Amy and Chris Hillyard apologized and said they should have taken more forceful action earlier.
“What began as a civil dialogue between our staff and a Jewish customer escalated into a situation that was shocking and unacceptable,” said the owners. “Events like this strike fear in the Jewish community and perpetuate the rise of anti-Semitism in our community and around the world. We do not tolerate any behavior at Farley’s that makes people feel unwelcome or unsafe.”
The employees were “disrespectful and hurtful,” said the Hillyards, without identifying them.
“Because this act was not aligned with our values, the employees involved in the incident are no longer employed by Farley’s,” the statement continued. “Though all employees are entitled to hold differing viewpoints, they are not entitled to express themselves on the job in ways that are disrespectful and hurtful to anyone.”
The owners added: “There is zero room in our business — or anywhere in our community — for speech or conduct that acts to ‘other’ anyone based on their religion, ethnicity, nationality, skin color, sexual orientation, gender identity, or any other discriminatory basis.”
The ongoing war between Israel and Hamas has had far reaching implications in the United States, with incidents of domestic antisemitism and Islamophobia on the apparent rise
University of Pennsylvania President Liz Magill resigned over the weekend after she drew withering criticism for dodging a question at a congressional hearing on campus antisemitism.
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