A coffee shop in California has issued an apology after a video circulating on social media showing staffers blocking a Jewish woman from a restroom while making anti-Israel comments.
The video recorded by the Jewish woman shows employees at Farley’s Coffee standing in front of the door to the bathroom and asking her to leave the establishment. The account @StopAntisemites said the incident happened at Farley’s East location in Oakland, California, though the company also has a San Francisco location.
The employees apparently wanted to prevent the woman from recording graffiti in the bathroom equating Zionism to fascism and accused the woman of “misgendering” an employee. In an apology statement issued on Farley’s Coffee’s Instagram page Wednesday, the business insisted, “We’re not antisemitic,” and promised “ongoing staff training” after the incident.
While the coffee shop’s statement categorizes the messages in the bathroom as “hate speech,” video of the incident shows one of the employees involved having agreed with the notion that Zionism is the same as fascism on camera, and the staffers tell the woman, “Free Palestine,” until she goes to leave.
“We’ve given you all your food,” one employee said in the video, “You’ve eaten, you’re holding up s—.”
“I want to go into the restroom,” the woman said repeatedly.
Another employee, seen wearing a yellow beanie and a face mask, said, “Also currently, this is a private property. I do need you to leave.” The first employee chimed in, “I know Israel loves taking private property and saying it’s their own. But you gotta head…”
“You’re not going to let me go into the restroom?” the customer asked again.
“You’re also misgendering them. So I need you to leave please,” the second employee said.
A third employee, wearing a red face mask and with dyed blue hair, remained silent during the exchange while standing in front of the restroom’s closed door.
“I need you to leave, please,” the second employee said.
The woman responded that she “was patroned here,” and had “a right to go into the restroom”
The employees refused and continued to ask the woman to leave. After this patter repeated, another person, who claimed to work next door, offered to let the woman use their restroom instead. The woman insisted that she wanted to use the one at the coffee shop and “should not be excluded and other people allowed.” The employees refused again and again, and finally, one of them told the woman she could use their other restroom.
“No, I want to use this,” the woman said.
“All you want to get is a video of it saying that Zionism is fascism. Because it is,” an employee said.
“If you agree with it, why are you afraid that I will take a picture of it?” the woman replied.
Finally, the third employee moved and opened the bathroom door for the woman.
The woman entered and recorded the words “Zionism = fascism” written on the frame of the mirror above the bathroom sink. As she did this, the first employee shouted, “History doesn’t start in 1948, lady,” referring to the year that the state of Israel was created after a United Nations resolution.
On the baby changing station, a message with spelling errors read in part “your neutrality” is enabling “genocide” and “Free Palestine.”
Two of the employees then entered the restroom while the woman was recording and said, “Free Palestine.”
Farley’s Coffee posted a statement on Instagram, saying, “We want to offer an acknowledgment and a sincere apology,” explaining that “hate speech graffiti was written in our bathroom.”
“We do not support hate speech; this does not reflect our values,” the coffee shops claims. “After a customer used the bathroom and wished to return to document the graffiti, they were initially denied access and then allowed to re-enter to document the graffiti. The staff handled the situation poorly, and we apologize for this error and the distress caused to the customer. We’ve taken corrective measures with our staff and removed the offensive graffiti. We’re not antisemitic; we value diversity and inclusivity. We’re committed to ongoing staff training for a safe and welcoming environment. Thank you for understanding that we are a small business doing our best to operate a community business in a difficult environment.”
Farley’s Coffee did not immediately respond to an email request for comment on Thursday.