A California woman is out of a job after she berated a 74-year-old man in a “Make America Great Again” hat at a Bay Area Starbucks and posted about the exchange on Facebook and Twitter, the woman’s employer said.
Richard Johnston, owner of Gryphon Stringed Instruments in Palo Alto, said he fired music shop accountant and store manager Rebecca Mankey on Tuesday after learning what happened, NBC Bay Area reports.
The encounter on Monday involved Mankey, a Palo Alto resident, calling an older, white Jewish man identified as Victor a “hater of brown people,” and trying to get other workers and patrons of the coffee shop to help her shame him, Palo Alto Weekly reports. She eventually left the Starbucks but came back and shouted at the man again — calling him “Nazi scum,” trailing him to the parking lot and cursing at him, according to the newspaper.
Mankey is a co-chair of the Bayshore Progressive Democrats and a member of Palo Alto’s North Ventura Coordinated Area Plan Working Group, Palo Alto Weekly reports.
KTVU reports that Mankey’s firing came after she posted about the encounter on social media, writing that she “yelled at him about how it was not okay to hate brown people” and threatening to “publicly shame him in town and try to get him fired.”
But Mankey is the one who got fired after four years working at the guitar sales and repair store in the Bay Area city, according to KTVU. Johnston told KTVU that he and Mankey had known each other since elementary school.
“I think surprised is an understatement,” Johnston told NBC. “I think dumbfounded and confused is probably more accurate. Expressing what you believe is not the problem. It’s attacking people for what they believe is the problem.”
Mankey wrote on social media that she wanted help figuring out who the man was, writing that “I want him to have nowhere to hide,” according to Palo Alto Weekly.
“I am going to go to his house march up and down carrying a sign that says he hates black people,” she said on Twitter, according to the newspaper. “I am going to organize protests where he works to make him feel as unsafe as he made every brown person he met today.”
Victor described a similar situation at Starbucks, KPIX reports.
“This crazy woman came over and started raving at me. She turned to the rest of Starbucks and said, ‘Hey everybody, here’s this racist over here. He hates brown people, he’s crazy, he’s a Nazi,’ and so forth,” he told KPIX. “‘Hey everybody here’s this racist,’ and so on. And then as she wrote in her thing, she was disappointed everybody didn’t come and mob me.”
Victor said he wears a yarmulke beneath the red hat featuring President Donald Trump’s campaign slogan and was upset when he was called a Nazi, according to KPIX.
“She didn’t want to discuss the issues with me. She wanted just to scream about Nazis and so on and that’s what we’ve sunken to,” Victor said. “People with an education should know better than to say stupid things like that.”
But he did express sympathy over Mankey’s firing, NBC reports.
“I feel bad someone gets fired from their job, but that’s the way it is between her and her job,” he said, according to the TV station.