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Silver Lake Bar Pushes Back Against Online Claims of Discrimination

It all stems from an incident that went down on Grammy night at Hyperion Public

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The upstairs bar at Hyperion Public
Farley Elliott is the Senior Editor at Eater LA and the author of Los Angeles Street Food: A History From Tamaleros to Taco Trucks. He covers restaurants in every form, from breaking news to the culture, people, and history that surrounds LA's dining landscape.

Local restaurant Hyperion Public has spent the past few days at the center of a heated social media exchange regarding an alleged incident of discrimination and possible assault at its Silver Lake location. The episode reportedly happened on January 28, after a group of imbibers was removed from the premises while watching the Grammys.

A woman named Jessica Trejo is claiming that she and her group were forcibly removed from Hyperion Public after cheering too loudly during a portion of the awards ceremony. In her telling, a manager approached the group and told them to vacate the premises because their cheering was “antagonizing” others in the bar, which they refuted. They were ultimately escorted off the property by security, Trejo says, but not before her friends were pushed down the stairs on their way out, resulting in a bloodied lip and feelings of intimidation. Trejo says that she and her friends (three women and one man) were “the only people of color in the bar,” and that she “felt scared and profiled” during the incident.

Trejo has since taken to Twitter, Facebook, and Yelp to publicly report the incident, though it is unclear if she has filed a police report regarding her allegations. Eater reached out to Trejo to discuss the incident further, but so far has not received a response back. Meanwhile, the restaurant’s Yelp page is actively frozen from a deluge of negative reviews, while Trejo’s Facebook post detailing the incident is no longer public.

While it was up, Trejo’s Facebook post drew an enormous response from readers, with several people chiming in to dispute her claims. One woman named Karen Fox says she was at the bar when the incident took place, and that Trejo’s group was intoxicated and took to singling out a family with children that was also present at the restaurant. The reply post goes so far as to accuse the unnamed man in Trejo’s group of using a racial slur against one of the restaurant workers before being escorted away.

Hyperion Public co-owner Akida Mashaka, himself an African-American, confirmed to Eater that one person in Trejo’s party did use the N-word against a staff member before being escorted out. Mashaka says that Trejo’s group was inebriated and that staff members felt they were being overly hostile to others at the bar, but that they were never forcibly removed from the premises and staff certainly did not injure anyone on the way out. Mashaka also says the restaurant is holding onto security footage of the incident, but that they are hesitant to release the video because it will only escalate the online conversation. Ownership did post to Facebook themselves, however, saying:

Over the weekend, there was an unfortunate incident that took place at Hyperion Public Silverlake. As you may have...

Posted by Hyperion Public on Thursday, February 1, 2018

Eater also spoke with a different unnamed customer at the bar that night, and he corroborated Mashaka’s version of the events, including the use of the N-word by the male in Trejo’s group. As for the future of it all, Mashaka says the local community has rallied around them after the incident, despite increased pressure on social media in recent days. Someone also reportedly vandalized the restaurant’s sign out front over the weekend, though it’s not confirmed that the two incidents are definitively related.