Bakery responds to backlash over unjustly firing employees who turned away black woman after hours

A Portland, Ore., bakery has responded to the backlash over its decision to fire two employees who refused to serve a black woman who entered the shop after hours to buy a pastry, confirming what rational Americans already deduced — that being that the owners are screaming liberals.

The customer, later identified as a “professional equity activist,” claimed racism, even though two white customers were also reportedly turned away, according to the ABC affiliate KATU.

Back to Eden Bakery said their employees weren’t racist, but fired them anyway, saying that they “lacked sensitivity and understanding of the racial implications at work.”

“We are doing business in a gentrified neighborhood in a racist city within a racist state of a racist country,” co-owner and general manager John Blomgren wrote in a Facebook post.

The bakery’s stance highlights the impossible standard being set in post-Obama America, where racial hypersensitivity results in there being no correct answer. A scenario where there are two sets of rules, based on the race of the customer, with employees tasked with guessing what the right guidelines.

It goes without saying that there was a backlash to the employees being fired.

And like true liberals, the owners of the Back To Eden Bakery took to Facebook to play the victim, labeling criticism of their decision as being a product of the “Alt-Right and people fueled by their own white supremacy.”

Then again, demonizing your critics to silence them is a common tactic from the left.

Here’s the rambling, 11-point dissertation that was posted on Facebook,

1. Why is Back to Eden censoring its Facebook page?

Our business is under full assault by the Alt-Right and people fueled by their own white supremacy. We have been getting hundreds of calls, emails, DM’s, negative reviews and vitriolic comments from people all over the globe with no connection to Portland or our business. The original post was removed because the number of trolls that were flocking to it was more than we could effectively manage. We took screenshots and know that many others did as well. These comments are not simply critical of our actions (we can handle that) but they are meant to be intimidating and dehumanizing to everyone involved. Our employees and the community that is attempting to support and/or actually dialogue with us is feeling unsafe and we have an obligation to them. We are anti-censorship and support everyone’s freedom of speech but will not allow any of our platforms to be a repository of hate.

2. Why is the Alt-Right targeting Back to Eden specifically?

We were mentioned in an article about Brown Hope that linked back to our page and
brought attention to the fact that we fired two white employees for denying service to a Black woman. Unwilling to look at the facts of the situation the Alt-Right is coming to the defense of white people assuming that we are “anti-white”.

3. Did Back to Eden fire two employees for simply following policy?

No. They were fired because they made a poor customer service decision to apply the 9pm closing time more stringently to a Black woman but not equally to the other white customers that were present. Back to Eden’s closing policy has always been “greet everyone who comes to our door warmly and make them feel welcome and appreciated”. Our employees did not do that.

4. Were the two white women that also entered after the Open sign was turned off served?

Yes. They were greeted warmly, told that we were closing but that we could happily serve them if they took their items to go. The Black woman that walked in one minute later was not given the same customer service. She was simply told over a crowd of white people enjoying their treats “we are closed. We can’t serve you”. After that, the two white customers were allowed to remain in the store casually chatting over the counter for an additional 10 minutes after all the other customers had left the premises. Camera footage shows all of this.

5. Does Back to Eden expect its employees to give preferential treatment based on race?

No. Back to Eden has a no tolerance policy for discrimination of any kind and is unequivocally anti-racist.

6. Are Back to Eden employees expected to work overtime or late in order to accommodate anyone visiting after hours?

No. Closing shifts are scheduled under 8 hours to allow for flexibility so they can stay an extra few minutes if needed. They are paid for this time and this policy has always been well understood.

7. Did Back to Eden call the former employees “racist”?

No. We have no way of knowing what their motivation was for enforcing the closing time unequally. One employee was on their last day of a 3-day trial period, hired in an Assistant Manager position and that was their first executive decision. The other employee had been previously warned about making customers feel unwelcome. They made a customer service call that had racial implications and the level of implicit bias was something we could not ignore.

8. Are the employees going to sue for wrongful termination?

No. We were in our legal right to terminate their employment and stand by our decision. The former employees understood why they were being fired and everyone parted emotionally but amicably.

9. What is Back to Eden doing to prevent discrimination moving forward?

We have made all of our policies even more clear. We are scheduling Diversity, Equity and Inclusivity training as well as Anti-Racism training (specifically focused on Anti-Blackness) with professional equity educators. Our team is organizing around how to lean even further into our mission of truly creating inclusive spaces for community to gather around inclusive food.

10. Did Back to Eden hire a white guy to deal with a racism problem?

No. We hired a business consultant for temporary management support to help us stay on track during this difficult time. He is a long time business colleague who was brought on to advise the ownership on how to navigate the current crisis and moreover to chart a path for our company moving forward. We have 40 employees dependent on the jobs we provide and we are committed to their safety and well being. As stated above, we are contracting with professionals for the Racial Equity Education.

11. Did Back to Eden commit to hosting the Brown Hope Reparations Happy Hour before or after the incident?

Weeks before. We have always stood firmly in support of Black, Brown and Indigenous communities and believe that reparations are an important conversation for us as a society to be having. We believe in Brown Hope’s mission and will continue to support it however we can.

To those who continue to show us support we thank you!  Back to Eden Bakery

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