Marilyn Synek's only mistake after entering Cultiva Espresso & Crepes on Wednesday? Apparently being identified as a conservative.
Because when a transgender employee of the Lincoln, Nebraska, coffee shop recognized Synek as a former volunteer for Republican U.S. Sen. Ben Sasse as well as being with Nebraska Family Alliance — a conservative policy organization that supports marriage and family, the unborn, and religious liberty — the employee lit into Synek, the Washington Examiner reported.
"An employee approached me, called me by name, and started yelling profanities at me," the 23-year-old communications specialist told the paper. "[The employee] asked me to leave and informed me that if I tried to come back, I would be denied service because of my 'bigoted' views."
Synek — who said she has breakfast at the coffee shop once a week — also told the Examiner the employee declared, "You are f***ing bigoted trash, and we do not want you in our restaurant. Over 80 percent of the people who work here are queer. You are not f***ing wanted in our restaurant, so get out and don't come back!"
What did the employee have to say later?
The employee, Natalie Weiss, wrote on Facebook that "when this person was leaving the store, I told them in no uncertain terms, and admittedly vulgar ones, that they were not welcome to come back."
Weiss added that Nebraska Family Alliance "really is a bigoted anti-LGBT2QIA+ organization who lobbies every year for legalized discrimination against my community in my state" and that "apparently Cultiva would like their LGBT2QIA+ staff to understand they must serve our literal societal oppressors with a smile."
What happened to the employee?
Cultiva Espresso & Crepes management wrote on Facebook that the employee in question was "fired almost immediately" following the incident.
More from the coffee shop's statement:
While we're proudly liberal personally, and believe in human rights and diversity to the fullest degree, let it be known that we would *never* condone treating a customer this way. We're running a business, and we try to instill professionalism in our staff, usually successfully.
We're more than happy to have people sit in our stores and discuss politics with civility, as has been a tradition in coffee shops for centuries. When the heat rises to this level, it's not good for anybody.
We'd like everyone to know that *anyone* is welcome in our stores anytime, as long as they're not harassing customers or staff members, committing crimes, damaging property, etc. Whatever your race, religion, gender identity, or general political beliefs, we just want you to enjoy our food and coffee, and have a good time, and tell other people you had a good time. We're sorry there was a moment when that didn't happen today.
How did the employee react to being fired?
A "pissed" Weiss noted on Facebook, "Cultiva Espresso & Crepes, you just let neo-conservative Trump allies drive out a trans employee. I hope you read this. Go f*** yourselves."
"So, for those keeping track, in Nebraska, you can be fired or lose your home because you identify in the LGBT2QIA+ umbrella," Weiss also wrote, "and you can also be fired for telling people who fight for that status quo to get lost."
How did Synek react following the controversy?
According to the Lincoln Journal Star, Synek said that while she believes Americans can disagree politically, she hopes the incident demonstrates the need for civility.
She also noted that the coffee shop's owners apologized to her personally and asked her to come back, the paper said.
"I've always enjoyed their coffee and crepes, and I accept their apology," Synek added, according to the Journal Star.