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Raging Hot Chicken Pop-Up Shuts Down Amid Yelp Drama

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Meanwhile the owner is planning a Glendale operation

Raging Hot Chicken
Signage for Raging Hot Chicken
YoAdrienne/Yelp

Rising underground North Hollywood pop-up Raging Hot Chicken has shut down, with possible plans to resurface in Glendale. The Nashville-style chicken tender and fries setup left its unlicensed parking lot operation at 11510 Oxnard Street just days after an Eater report detailed allegations of aggressive and threatening behavior towards Yelp users by owner Gabriel Killian.

Raging Hot Chicken appeared to close around March 1, posting an official “temporarily closed” notice to Instagram on March 4. A comment from ownership on a more recent Instagram photo indicates the new pop-up will be in business “as soon as all the paperwork is cleared with the City of Glendale!”

In the meantime the Yelp page for Raging Hot Chicken remains greyed out for readers following claims by multiple users of aggressive language and behavior from Killian. These temporary freezes are called “active cleanup alerts” on the site, and are common for restaurants that have drawn negative media attention, which can lead to a slew of negative reviews aimed at publicly dragging down a business. The freezes are not permanent, but they do indicate a higher level of scrutiny from the Yelp team while also hiding almost all of the available reviews for a place.

In detailed screenshots sent by anonymous users and in conversations with co-owner Killian himself last month, Eater learned that he had allegedly threatened customers, sometimes with physical violence, after they left one-star reviews of their experiences. Killian told one customer that he “fucked with the wrong person,” adding in an on-the-record statement to Eater that if he saw the unnamed person again he would “[knock them] into unconsciousness.” For his part, Killian maintains that most of the negative reviews written about Raging Hot Chicken are from “trolls” who have never actually eaten there, and that his language and behavior against fake reviewers is warranted.

Eater also reached out last month to Yelp regarding the allegations as they occurred. The company at the time sent a boilerplate response that read, in part:

Yelp takes an aggressive stance against any form of harassment on our platform because protecting consumers is one of our top priorities. We have policies in place to reprimand any user or business owner who uses Yelp to threaten, stalk, harm, or harass others, which violates our Terms of Service and Messaging Guidelines.

However, Yelp has since declined to say publicly if Killian has been reprimanded for his public actions on the site, beyond having his page frozen as part of the “active cleanup”. That same statement from Yelp does say plainly that the company reserves the right — in the case of harassment — to “remove the ability for the business owner to use our messaging feature within the platform. Killian, however, is still responding to some user reviews — albeit in the grayed out, difficult-to-read interface.

A user named Paul D., for example, updated a previous review on March 9 by saying that Killian “continues to pursue me for speaking my mind,” to which Killian immediately responded, viewable in part below.

Raging Hot Chicken Yelp Response
Killian responding to a newer Yelp review. His entire response is still greyed out.
Yelp

Eater awaits a response from Paul D. for more information on his allegations of continued harassment. Yelp declined to comment on Killian’s continued ability to respond to Yelpers and on how long the cleanup effort, now in its third week, will last.

Raging Hot Chicken
The active cleanup alert posted to Raging Hot Chicken
Yelp

In the meantime, Killian appears to be hard at work getting the next iteration of his popular pop-up off the ground. Stay tuned for updates.

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