A man was caught on video demanding a Brooklyn coffee shop to remove a Black Lives Matter sign and refusing to wear a mask in Brooklyn, New York Thursday morning. The cafe, Burly Coffee, said on Instagram this was not an isolated incident with the customer and the owners thanked supporters for sending tips on Venmo. Throughout the encounter, the man was repeatedly told the employee would not serve him if he did not wear a mask, but he continued demanding the store take down the Black Lives Matter sign.
In a 10-minute YouTube video of the incident, the man can be heard calling the BML sign “the most racist thing out there.” The employee pointed to the sign requiring customers to wear a face mask to help slow the spread of the coronavirus. “No mask, no service. You need to go,” the employee said. The man refused, instead of telling the employee she needed to remove the sign. “This is an establishment. This is her workplace. Stop harassing her,” a bystander told the man.
This only emboldened the man, who claimed he was “making a protest” and started chanting “all lives matter.” The employee told him this was not a protest and he was harassing her. Rohan Singh, who filmed the incident, said it went on for 20 minutes before the barista left the store and closed the door, reports the New York Post. At that point, the man finally walked away. “So, this was my morning,” Singh wrote on Twitter. “I just wanted to get some coffee. But this racist a—hole decided it’s time to educate us and ‘make a protest’ about how ‘all lives matter.'”
Singh later told Gothamist he spoke with the barista, who said the man “specifically” walked up to the store to complain about the sign and the mask policy. “The barista was already trying to get the man to leave when I arrived,” he said. “I stepped up and harshly told him to leave as well, but he wouldn’t. So then I just started filming.”
The man complaining was identified as Abraham “Avrumy” Knofler, who told Gothamist he was protesting the shop. “I was making a protest—all lives matter,” he said. “They don’t have to take it down, I just wanted to defend all lives matter.” He also posted his own video of the incident on a WhatsApp group called “All Lives Matter.”
Burly Coffee shared a statement on Instagram, confirming this was not an “isolated incident” with Knofler and they reaffirmed their support for Black Lives Matter. They thanked supporters for tips on Venmo, adding, “The baristas that experienced this hatred will receive the tips directly. Burly will be making a contribution in support of the community we love and are thankful to be a part of.”
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