The operators of Farley’s East in Oakland had already issued an apology last week after footage emerged online showing a woman being refused entry to the cafe’s bathroom as she attempted to photograph messages scrawled inside including “Zionism is fascism.” The video also showed staff members making anti-Israel comments to the customer as she asked to be let into the restroom.
One employee can be heard telling the customer she is on “a private property” and telling her to leave. “I want to go into the restroom,” the customer replies. In response, another staff member says: “I know Israel loves taking private property and saying it’s their own, but we gotta head…” seemingly gesturing for the customer to leave.
Referring to the graffiti in the bathroom, the customer later asks, “If you agree with it, why are you afraid that I will take a picture of it?” At that point, the woman is allowed to enter and document the graffiti. Two of the staff members then say “free Palestine” and one asks her to leave again, prompting the customer to head for the door.
As the footage spread online, Farley’s East issued a statement last week saying it had “taken corrective measures with our staff and removed the offensive graffiti,” and acknowledged the employees had “handled the situation poorly,” according to the San Francisco Chronicle. On Friday, the cafe said it would close over the weekend to “address our staffing situation.”
The following day, Farley’s released a statement saying the staff in the video were gone. “What began as a civil dialogue between our staff and a Jewish customer escalated into a situation that was shocking and unacceptable,” the statement read. “Events like these strike fear in the Jewish community and perpetuate the rise of anti-Semitism in our community and around the world.”
“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. It also later addressed the ongoing crisis in the Middle East following Hamas’ terror attacks on Oct. 7. “Nothing we say can adequately capture the pain and terror that Hamas inflicted on innocent civilians, nor the horrific suffering and loss of innocent Palestinian lives in Gaza since then. These difficult times should bring us together—not create division and stoke anxiety.”
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