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Silver Lake Bar Tenants of the Trees Responds to Drugging Allegations

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The Los Feliz Ledger investigates

Tenants of the Trees, Silver Lake
Tenants of the Trees, Silver Lake
Wonho Frank Lee

The Los Feliz Ledger is reporting that multiple men and women claim to have been drugged at popular Silver Lake hangout Tenants of the Trees over the past several months. The news item comes on the heels of a tweet sent out by comedian Kate Berlant that references seven separate such incidents, and warns women to "be vigilant."

Several women have come forward to both the Ledger and Eater regarding irregular incidents while at Tenants of the Trees, including a variety of symptoms that may fall in line with those found after someone has been dosed with GHB, or other so-called date rape drugs. On at least two occasions, men claim to have been possibly inadvertently drugged as well, after grabbing a drink meant for someone else.

The Ledger spoke with a female former employee of the bar, who claimed to have left her job after raising concerns about the frequency of possible drink tampering, saying that she "told security and management" about the issue, but that ultimately nothing was done. Reached for comment by email, Tenants of the Trees co-owner Reza Fahim repeated to Eater some of what he'd said to the Ledger; specifically, that Fahim and co-owner Jason Lev "are confident that we know which employee was referred to" in the Ledger story, and that "this employee did not quit, but was fired, and we believe that she made these statements in an effort to retaliate against the bar."

Fahim's email to Eater (which, in a later message, he noted came from him and Lev jointly) went on to rebut or critique several aspects of the Ledger article, including the presumption that the individuals claiming to be drugged had in fact been drugged:

“While we do not rule out the possibility that someone may have tried to drug patrons at the bar, it is also possible that there are other explanations that would explain these feelings or sickness that some patrons may have had.  Despite it being at best unclear what may have happened to these individuals, The Los Feliz Ledger had no problem insinuating that the only explanation could be that the individuals were drugged and that the bar was in some way responsible for or condoned this activity."

Fahim also says that, while it’s entirely possible the incidents did occur, "it is surprising that no one has apparently reported any of this activity to the police." (According to U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics report from 2013, only 15.8 to 35 percent of sexual assaults are ever reported to police, with victims citing a number of possible reasons for not wishing to come forward.)

The email from Fahim and Lev also notes steps Tenants of the Trees is taking to prevent further incidents, including training staff to be diligent about identifying possible suspicious activity, and more quickly clearing unattended drinks from tables and bartops. The possible drugging of patrons is an issue "we take extremely seriously and believe strongly that it cannot be tolerated," writes Fahim, who also said that he and Lev "are in the process of organizing an event at the bar to raise awareness about this type of activity, and other forms of abusive and criminal activity that victimizes women."

This latest round of drugging allegations comes on the heels of another, much more public incident that occurred in May at Fig restaurant in Santa Monica. In that episode, which became national news when a Facebook post documenting the incident went viral, three women watched a 24 year-old man allegedly drug a woman’s drink before intervening on her behalf. Ultimately the police were called once the restaurant was able to reportedly play back security footage showing the man slipping something into the beverage.

Tenant of the Trees

2810 Hyperion Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90027 (323) 284-8631 Visit Website

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