Oakland’s Farley’s Coffee, a popular local spot known for its friendly atmosphere and community involvement, faced backlash last week after a video surfaced online showing employees blocking a Jewish woman from using the bathroom while making anti-Israel comments. The incident, which has sparked outrage and accusations of antisemitism, has now resulted in the firing of the employees involved.
Owners Amy and Chris Hillyard issued a public apology on Friday, taking full responsibility for the actions of their employees. They acknowledged that the incident was “shocking and unacceptable” and expressed their commitment to creating a safe and welcoming environment for all customers. In their statement, the owners also emphasized their stance against hate and discrimination, saying that such acts would not be tolerated in their business.
The video, recorded by the customer, shows three employees standing between her and the bathroom door. The woman had previously used the bathroom and wanted to return to document antisemitic graffiti written on the bathroom walls. However, the employees allegedly wanted to prevent her from recording the graffiti, which included phrases like “Zionism = fascism” and “Your neutrality/apathy is enabling genocide.”
In the video, the employees are heard making comments such as “History didn’t start in 1948, lady,” and “Free Palestine.” They also accused the woman of “misgendering” an employee. The incident has sparked outrage and outcry from the Jewish community, with many condemning the employees’ actions and calling for accountability.
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
Initially, Farley’s Coffee addressed the incident through a post on their Instagram page, emphasizing that they were not antisemitic and promising to undergo staff training. However, following the public backlash, the owners have now announced that the employees involved in the incident are no longer employed by the company.
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