Following a controversial incident at a popular Oakland coffee shop, Farley’s, on Friday, the owners have taken swift action by firing the employees allegedly involved in the altercation. The incident, which made headlines after a video surfaced on social media, showed three Farley’s employees blocking a Jewish customer from accessing the bathroom while making anti-Israel comments.
In the wake of the incident, Farley’s owners, Amy and Chris Hillyard, posted a heartfelt apology on their social media pages, acknowledging the seriousness of the issue. “On Sunday, we fell short of our vision. What began as a civil dialogue between our staff and a Jewish customer escalated into a situation that was shocking and unacceptable,” the owners stated in their apology.
They also expressed concern over the rise of anti-Semitism in the community and around the world, stating that acts of hate will not be tolerated at Farley’s. “We do not tolerate any behavior at Farley’s that makes people feel unwelcome or unsafe,” the owners reiterated.
Jews aren’t allowed in the restrooms in a coffee shop and restaurant in Oakland, CA Farley’s East coffee house (33 Grand Ave.)
America has been giving more and more 1933 vibes lately.
What is going on in America?
— Ella Travels (Ella Kenan) (@EllaTravelsLove) December 7, 2023
Taking a stance against discrimination and hate, the owners announced that the employees involved in the incident have been fired. “Because this act was not aligned with our values, the employees involved in the incident are no longer employed by Farley’s,” the Hillyards posted on social media.
The incident in question occurred when a Jewish customer visited the coffee shop and discovered anti-Semitic graffiti in the bathroom. The customer had previously gone into the bathroom and wanted to re-enter in order to document the graffiti, which read “Zionism = fascism” and “Your neutrality/apathy is enabling genocide”.
However, three Farley’s employees stood in the way, allegedly trying to prevent the customer from documenting the graffiti. The employees even accused the customer of “misgendering” an employee. After allowing the customer to enter the bathroom, the employees were heard shouting “History didn’t start in 1948, lady” and “Free Palestine”.
Following anti-Semitic video from the coffee shop: all the employees involved were fired. On Thursday, a video from the Farley’s East Coffee Shop in Oakland, California, was circulated online, in which 3 employees were seen preventing a Jewish woman from going to the bathroom in… pic.twitter.com/uqNcQ4XpfN
— Eli Dror (@edrormba) December 10, 2023
In their initial apology statement on Wednesday, Farley’s Coffee insisted that they were not anti-Semitic and promised to provide ongoing staff training to ensure incidents like this do not occur in the future. “We are committed to working with community leaders and organizations across the Bay Area to make sure we as owners, and our employees, have the resources, education, and skills necessary to peacefully exist in this community,” read the statement.
As this incident sparks discussions about anti-Semitism and discrimination, it serves as a reminder for businesses to have strong values and a zero-tolerance policy towards hate. Farley’s Coffee has reassured its customers that they will continue to serve the community and strive to provide a welcoming environment for all.