The Back to Eden Bakery in Portland, Oregon, failed to live up to its name after firing two employees for denying a woman service after the business had closed for the night.
The problem, in the eyes of the owners of the vegan bakery, a same-sex married couple, was that even though the employees were properly shutting down operations at the regular 9 p.m. closing time, the woman turned away after hours was black.
It didn’t matter that they had already turned away a white woman for the same reason.
In a statement on Facebook, the bakery said that while the workers didn’t necessarily do anything wrong, they “lacked sensitivity and understanding of the racial implications at work,” reported KATU-TV in Portland.
It also turns out, according to the station, that the black woman, Lillian Green, is well known in the area as a “professional equity activist,” serving as equity director in the Oregon Department of Education.
The incident took place May 10 but was noted Thursday by columnist Rod Dreher in a post on the American Conservative website.
The progressive Seattle newspaper The Stranger reported Green started live streaming on Facebook from outside the bakery after she was turned away.
“I’m going to put this on Facebook and I’m going to blast their a–,” Green says. “They can live that life but they’re about to get all blasted on Facebook.”
Later, from home, Green made another video.
“I want to tell you about a disturbing, heart wrenching experience I had,” she says.
The Stranger said that 12 hours after the incident, Back to Eden’s John Blomgren, who owns the bakery with his husband, posted a 3,000 word apology on Facebook, which has since been deleted.
The apology said that while the employees are not racist and were simply following protocol, they were fired because “sometimes impact outweighs intent” and “the “clamoring public” demanded they be fired.
The bakery said “this is more about how a black woman was made to feel” at the business.
“We are doing business in a gentrified neighborhood in a racist city within a racist state of a racist country,” the owner explained.
A surveillance video shows Green entered the baker at 9:06 p.m., six minutes after closing time, and employees had turned off the “Open” sign.
There were several white customers who had made orders before closing time still inside.
But two white women who went to the bakery two minutes before Green also had been turned away.