Eileen Rinaldi, the owner of Ritual coffee shop in San Fransisco fired her husband Chicken John Rinaldi from his freelance role at her coffee shop.
The owner of a local coffee shop has fired her husband after he used racial slurs in a verbal altercation. Eileen Rinaldi, the owner of Ritual coffee shop in San Fransisco, took to Instagram to announce her decision to let her husband go from his role. John Rinaldi was working on a freelance project at the shop. He got into a fight with a person over a parking space when he used a racial slur. The incident took place in May and Eileen is now taking action. He was heard calling a Black man a slur by several people in the vicinity.
In the Instagram post, Eileen wrote referring to the incident: "He reported to me that he had a verbal altercation over a parking space while managing a construction project. He said that during the altercation, an individual called John a racial epithet. John said he then made the horrible mistake of repeating the racial slur back to the individual, something that he never should have done." She continued that the incident was extremely upsetting. Even though he was only working at Ritual in a freelance capacity, in a construction role since the last year, she said, "I’m deeply regretful for allowing John to oversee this project or to do any work with Ritual."
John is already a well-known member of the local community. He goes by the name Chicken John Rinaldi and has even run for mayor in 2007. As an "activist," he has organized boycotts of food trailers and coffee carts in Dolores Park. He threatened to spit at the vendors of Blue Bottle coffee and puke in the food of Chaac Mool's food trailer, reported SFist. His current outburst does not come as a surprise to many. In addition to this, over the years, employees have also complained about the treatment of people of color at the Ritual coffee shops since its establishment in 2005.
"Words have power -- and the word he repeated is undoubtedly racist and harmful," Eileen wrote in the Instagram post. "To me, it means hate and dehumanization. I am thinking about and gutted by the unimaginable pain, anger, and trauma this word has caused throughout history and in every moment a White person uses it." She also acknowledged the mistakes she had made and that she was learning. "I am committed to doing the necessary work of continuously evolving how we are an anti-racist, inclusive, and equitable business and place for our employees, customers, and community," she wrote. "And I embrace that this work has no closure. We need to work on it every month and year and for the life of the business."
The owner of Ritual Coffee Roasters has fired her husband from the business after he used a racial slur against a Black man in an altercation outside the company’s warehouse in San Francisco. https://t.co/V4Ta4Tv7U4— San Francisco Chronicle (@sfchronicle) June 9, 2021
John confirmed that he used the racial slur to San Francisco Chronicle, stating that he was “repeating” the word. "[He] asked me and I quote: ‘What’s your name, bitch ass n------?’ To which I, unfortunately, replied: ‘Yup, that’s my name. Bitch ass n------,’” he said. “I have apologized for repeating the derogatory word that was shouted at me. A word I never, ever use. I regret the incident and feel terrible about it. I am deeply disappointed in myself for meeting hostility with hostility, and allowing the situation to escalate." Many people took the apology with a pinch of salt because of the repetitive nature of the couple's racism.
After Ritual's staff brought it to her notice, Eileen acknowledged how incidents involving customers of color were handled badly and promised to do better last year, reported Mission Local. One user stated: Come on, just between us...this is not new and you don't want to lose revenue. This is the only reason you posted this. Another person wrote: It’s sad that this is yet another issue. If he’s done it once he will do it again. I do not and will not support a company that has already been part of this type of behavior. Accepting apology yes but not supporting the business. People deserve better.