Christian Wong Seattle Chocolati owner fires female worker who refused to serve two cops at chocolate store. Pushback leads to firm to reverse initial support of worker’s free speech.
‘No, I won’t serve you.’ These are the brazen words uttered by a Seattle chocolate shop employee who has since has been fired after refusing to serve two police officers last week according to reports. The un-named worker’s dismissal comes despite her employer initially siding with the worker’s right to ‘free speech.’
The employee eventually left after Chocolati cafe owner Christian Wong decided ‘it was in the best interests of both parties to part ways with the team member’.
The worker had refused to serve the officer, who was accompanied by a trainee, at the shop on N. 45th Street, Wallingford, telling the pair ‘No, I won’t serve you.’
The employee, who was described as a ‘white female with green streaks in her hair’, initially ignored the police pair who had entered the shop around 4:30pm on Tuesday, before refusing to sell them a box of chocolates the Post Millennial reported.
President of the Seattle Police Officers’ Guild Mike Solan said the pair ‘were met with a bit of hostility.
‘But, based upon the amount of pushback that company has received from the public and across the nation is that people are still really supportive of the police,’ he told Fox News.
Chocolati initially defended the woman’s right to free speech in a statement posted to Facebook on Wednesday, the day after the incident.
It said: ‘We have recently become aware of an incident that occurred with a team member and an officer of the Seattle Police Department who was refused service. Although we do respect this team member’s freedom of speech, the actions in this instance do not represent our views as a company.
‘We are actively working directly with this team member and the local precinct to create a more inviting, inclusive and cohesive community for all.’
The support was short lived as the retailer faced social media pushback, leading to Chocolati to recant, with the outlet stating the female employee had ‘parted ways’ with the company over the incident.
Read an updated statement on Facebook two days later: ‘Our team members cannot decide which customers to serve based on their own personal political beliefs. This simply is not an acceptable practice at our business…
‘We also continue to communicate with our employees about our values and how we serve our customers to ensure an incident like this does not happen again. We will do better’, he added.
Seattle Police Dept face crises
Solan said he was willing to meet with the employee and discuss the incident. He said: ‘I’m hopeful that this employee can get informed… I commend the company’s ownership for taking it seriously.’
On Sunday, Wong was to meet with the officers involved and personally apologize.
‘Our hope is that this unfortunate incident can serve to help show that communication, empathy and education are the ways we can find common ground as a community in this city we all love,’ he said.
The incident comes as the Seattle Police Department faces a significant crisis in a mass exodus of staff.
Since last year, over 250 officers have left the force, leaving the SPD with the fewest deployable staff members since at least the 1980s. Concurrently, Seattle hit a 26-year-high homicide rate.
Officers are leaving, in large part, due to a lack of support. That includes attacks from the Seattle City Council and the community in the face of national protests against allegations of police brutality and racism against blacks and minorities.