Update: Oakland cafe workers say owner knew about anti-Semitic graffiti

Update: Oakland cafe workers say owner knew about anti-Semitic graffiti

Oakland cafe workers say owner knew about anti-Semitic graffiti

Oakland cafe workers say owner knew about anti-Semitic graffiti


A group of current and former employees at an Oakland coffee shop that has become the center of controversy claimed the cafe’s owners were aware of bathroom graffiti that could be construed as anti-Semitic for months prior to a recent confrontation that went viral.  

According to the statement issued by a group of former and current baristas at Farley’s East, six workers are no longer working at the location after video of the confrontation with the customer was widely shared on social media.

Three of the workers involved in the confrontation were fired and an additional three employees quit following the incident, the statement said. It also attributed the firings and subsequent resignations to “the unwillingness and refusal of both Farley’s East owners’ (Chris and Amy Hillyard) to protect their longtime staff after a right wing doxxing campaign targeted our fellow coworkers with violence and hatred.”

In the confrontation that workers said happened on Dec. 3, a woman saw graffiti in the shop’s bathroom that included the phrase “zionism = facism” and went ask if the coffee shop’s manager was aware of it. Workers said the manager informed the woman that she was aware and the cafe did not plan to remove it. 

The statement noted that one of the owners, Chris Hillyard, “had known about the graffiti for two months at this point.”

It was at that point that the female customer tried to return to the bathroom to take a picture of it and recorded the cafe workers as they briefly stopped her from doing that while making anti-Israel comments.

The workers’ statement said there was another similar confrontation the following day and claimed that the coffee shop’s owners only took action after the woman’s video and photo went viral and the location started getting spammed with one-star Yelp reviews.

The workers additionally accused the coffee shop owners of releasing false statements that justified “the harassment of the staff in the video and places the blame entirely on staff members.”

Farley’s has confirmed that the employees involved in the confrontation no longer work there.

The coffee shop owners last week released a statement saying in part, “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.”

Yelp currently has a pop-up message on the cafe’s page that says: “We’ve temporarily disabled the posting of content to this page as we work to investigate whether the content you see here reflects actual customer experiences.”

So far there is no word on when the coffee shop might potentially reopen.