Workers seen on video denying Jewish customer access to bathroom no longer working at California coffee house

Three Northern California coffee house workers — seen in a viral video denying a Jewish woman access to a bathroom where there was anti-Israeli graffiti — are no longer employed there, owners of the eatery said.

The video was taken at Farley’s East in Oakland, where the woman wanted to take pictures of provocative scribbles she found objectionable, leading to a confrontation that owners called “shocking and unacceptable.”

Footage of the bathroom showed “Zionism = fascism” written on a mirror frame and “Your neutrality/apathy is enabling genocide” scrawled on a diaper-changing station.

The exterior of Farley's East in Oakland, Calif.
Farley’s East in Oakland, Calif.Google Maps

When the woman asked to go back in to take pictures, she was blocked by at least three employees, a man and two women, who told her to get out.

“I know Israel loves taking private property and saying it’s their own, but we gotta head,” line chef Jesse Turner could be heard saying.

A women, who Turner identified to NBC News on Monday as the manager, said: “It is private property, I do need you to leave.”

The workers eventually allowed the customer back into the restroom to take the images, as the man appeared to shout, “History didn’t start in 1948, lady,” Turner said, in reference to the year Israel was established.

Both Turner, 29, and one of the female employees moments later added: “Free Palestine.”

In a statement posted Saturday, Farley’s owners Amy and Chris Hillyard apologized and said they should have taken more forceful action earlier.

“What began as a civil dialogue between our staff and a Jewish customer escalated into a situation that was shocking and unacceptable,” said the owners. “Events like this strike fear in the Jewish community and perpetuate the rise of anti-Semitism in our community and around the world. We do not tolerate any behavior at Farley’s that makes people feel unwelcome or unsafe.”

The employees were “disrespectful and hurtful,” said the Hillyards, without identifying them.

“Because this act was not aligned with our values, the employees involved in the incident are no longer employed by Farley’s,” the statement continued. “Though all employees are entitled to hold differing viewpoints, they are not entitled to express themselves on the job in ways that are disrespectful and hurtful to anyone.”

Turner said he, the manager and a barista — the three workers seen on video at the bathroom door — were all fired and four other Farley’s employees have since quit in solidarity.

The footage widely seen since last week was shot 10 minutes after the woman had been challenging staff and blocking workers from the drink service counter, at the height of the Dec. 3 lunch rush, Turner said.

The bathroom graffiti had been up for weeks and the customer was given an email address to address her concerns to management, according to the former line chef, but she kept challenging workers to debate.

“She was harassing and berating staff,” Turner told NBC News. “We told her ownership knows about the graffiti and it’s up to ownership to deal with facilities.”

The fired employee doesn’t regret voicing support for Palestinians, but does believe he should’ve done a better job keeping his cool in the moment.

“Those 10 minutes (before the video picked up) were very stressful,” Turner said. “I always try to push the limits of seeing other people as humanly as possible. What I would have done differently is I wouldn’t have escalated when I did.”

The ongoing war between Israel and Hamas has had far-reaching implications in the United States, with incidents of domestic antisemitism and Islamophobia on the apparent rise.

University of Pennsylvania President Liz Magill resigned over the weekend after she drew withering criticism for dodging a question at a congressional hearing on campus antisemitism.