Winnipeg restaurant windows spray-painted after owner accused of making racist Facebook post

By | June 10, 2020

A Winnipeg restaurant was vandalized after one of its owners made a Facebook post that has been decried by many people as racist. 

A communist hammer and sickle, along with the words “BLM” and “F–k racism” were spray-painted on the windows of Tuxedo Village Family Restaurant on Corydon Avenue Tuesday morning.

The graffiti was reported to the Winnipeg Police Service by Paulina Jojnowicz, who owns the restaurant with her husband, Dave Jones.

“I knew [the graffiti] was from my [Facebook] post,” Jones told CBC News. “I mean, obviously. We had, like, hundreds of calls yesterday on our phone calling us racists … calling me a cop-loving Black-hater.”

A Facebook post made by Jones — now deleted — said he would not kiss the feet of Black people to prove he is not racist.

Many condemned the post as racist on social media.

Jones said the post was in response to a video he saw online that shows a white man kissing a Black man’s boot and apologizing.

CBC News watched the video Jones said he was responding to.

It was published by the Israelite School of Universal Practical Knowledge, a small Pennsylvania-based religious group that describes its mission as teaching Black, Hispanic and Indigenous people “the true history of their people as it pertains to the Bible,” according to its website. It has been labelled a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center. 

Owner Dave Jones says he believes the graffiti was in retaliation to a Facebook post he made, which said, in part, ‘we don’t agree with kissing black people’s feet (like promoted in BLM) to “prove” we are not racist!’ (Meaghan Ketcheson/CBC)

Jones says he made the post a couple of weeks ago, and that a former employee found and shared it on social media, saying it demonstrates what Jones and Jojnowicz think of the Black Lives Matter movement.

A post from the restaurant’s Facebook page was later sent in response to the backlash to Jones’s earlier post. 

“Warning! There are some trolls going around saying we are racist because we don’t agree with kissing black people’s feet (like promoted in BLM) to ‘prove’ we are not racist!” the post read.

“Those of you with intelligence know the truth about us. Enough said.”

The restaurant’s Facebook page was deleted, but a new one is now back up.

While speaking with CBC News, Jones and Jojnowicz said multiple times that they are not racist, and that the post was taken out of context.

But they say they will not censor themselves going forward, and intend “to say what we feel, regardless of what everyone else does.”

The restaurant owners say they may take legal action against people speaking out about them online.

‘We are only asking for understanding’

Rachel Agius, a former part-time employee at the restaurant, said she did not interact often with Jones, and that she did not witness any racist acts or microaggressions during her time at the restaurant.

Agius, a white person, “was shocked that someone could post anything like that in general,” but not surprised that it was Jones who did it.

“I’ve seen his posts and they’re extremely opinionated in his own sense, and it just seems like sometimes he’s trying to get a rise out of people,” she said.

Thousands of people attended last Friday’s Justice 4 Black Lives rally in Winnipeg. Nadia Thompson, the chairperson for the Black History Month Celebration Committee in Winnipeg, says people who make statements like Jones’s on Facebook are ‘adding to the problem and not to the solution.’ (Austin Grabish/CBC)

Jones’s Facebook page, which appears to have been deleted, had posts questioning the validity of the COVID-19 pandemic caused by the spread of the novel coronavirus, which has infected over 7.1 million people and killed more than 407,000 around the world.

Another post, referring to protests in the U.S. following the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, said, “Let’s unmask the protesters while leaving masks on the looting rioters. Then we’ll know who to shoot!”

Nadia Thompson, chairperson for the Black History Month Celebration Committee in Winnipeg, does not condone vandalism to a person’s property, regardless of that individual’s beliefs.

But as a business owner and community member, Jones should have been more careful about putting his thoughts online for the world to see, Thompson said.

Regardless of how Jones feels about his initial Facebook post, it was a racist statement, said Thompson, because he made both a general and personal statement by arguing that he was being expected to “prove” he is not racist.

“I don’t believe anybody has asked anybody to prove anything. We are only asking for understanding and allies, to resolve a 400-year problem,” said Thompson.

“By making statements like that, you’re not having any accountability, and you’re adding to the problem and not to the solution.”

If the roles were flipped, white people would also want allies to defend what is right, she said.

“We’re talking about having empathy, and taking back some onus, and taking some steps to make changes in the world that we live in.”

Thompson hopes the situation results in people taking time to consider what they are putting out into the public sphere.

The recent rallies, protests and discussion around the Black Lives Matter movement following the killing of George Floyd are opening a lot of eyes, she said.

Victims of racist violence “could be your brother, your sister, your cousin — anybody,” she said.

“It’s not just the fact that this gentleman killed a Black man. It’s that you killed a human being for no apparent reason, and it was on camera, and people got to see that. And it’s wrong.”

View original article here Source