Portland bakery fires employees for denying black woman service after closing
PORTLAND, Ore. — Two employees of a bakery in Northeast Portland were fired earlier this month for denying a black woman service because the business had closed.
"Back To Eden Bakery" released several public apologies and statements following the incident, before letting the employees go. In one Facebook post, the bakery's co-owner wrote, "We are doing business in a gentrified neighborhood in a racist city within a racist state of a racist country.”
In one statement, "Back To Eden Bakery" says that according to its own surveillance video, a black woman named "Lillian", who is well known in the area as a "professional equity activist", entered at 9:06 p.m., after the bakery's closing time. Employees had also turned off the "Open" sign, but several customers (all white) who had already ordered were still inside. Two other white women who went to the bakery two minutes before "Lillian", and were also informed that the business was closed for the night.
The bakery says "Lillian" left the store briefly and began recording video.
The bakery's statement says that even though it does not consider the employees to be racist and that they were following the business's protocol of closing at 9 p.m., they were fired because "sometimes impact outweighs intent." The bakery also says in the statement that the way the employees went about denying the woman service, "lacked sensitivity and understanding of the racial implications at work."
In the statement "Back To Eden" says the employees were fired because the woman and the "clamoring public" demanded they be fired.
In one statement, the bakery admitted that the employees did not necessarily do anything wrong, "this is more about how a black woman was made to feel" at the business.
That statements have since been deleted.