Atwater Village bar The Griffin is under fire for an incident involving well-known far right men’s group the Proud Boys over the weekend. The Los Feliz Boulevard watering hole was reportedly the site of a local Proud Boys chapter meet-up on Saturday night, but things escalated quickly when protesters against the group arrived. Someone called the police when a verbal and physical fight broke out, and now The Griffin is dealing with the fallout from it all.
On Saturday night a group of just less than ten Proud Boys members showed up to The Griffin unannounced, and word of their presence quickly broke on social media. A counter-group soon gathered at the bar, with the intent of getting the Proud Boys kicked out entirely. Instead, bar employees at several points seemed to defend the presence of the “Make America Great Again”-hat wearing group, with one bouncer reportedly saying “the only color I see is green,” indicating that anyone was welcome as long as they spend money.
EXCLUSIVE: "No Proud Boys, No KKK, No fascist USA!" Chants heard inside The #Griffin in #AtwaterVillage Saturday after patrons identify a Proud Boys gathering by #MAGA hats and Fred Perry polos. / Credit: Defend Northeast Los Angeles. Our story is coming ... #breakingnews pic.twitter.com/oRwIqLqyuU— L.A. TACO (@LATACO) July 15, 2018
LA Taco has a thorough collection of details and social media posts along with video from the incident. They spoke with LAPD officer Rosario Herrera who confirmed that a scuffle took place at The Griffin, adding that the police didn’t arrest anyone.
Comedian Josh Androsky, who was at the bar during the incident, shared one particularly prominent video (below) that showed one of the Proud Boys in a heated argument outside. The unnamed man attempts to argue that white people — in this case, the Irish — have also been historically persecuted and subjected to slavery. This is a commonly debunked refrain among far-right groups.
this footage, which sure looks like a proud boy’s mom telling him it’s time to go home, was taken by Defend North East Los Angeles after this dude’s friends shoved a woman at their management-approved hate meetup at The Griffin. please enjoy. pic.twitter.com/7lsxvuXGF9— josh androsky (@ShutUpAndrosky) July 15, 2018
For hours after the incident, The Griffin offered no comment on the Saturday night scuffle, even as users on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook lambasted the company and called for a total boycott. There is currently an “active cleanup alert” on the bar’s Yelp page after a deluge of one-star reviews flooded in. Eventually ownership posted a lengthy note to its own social media, saying in part:
I’m Jewish and finding out that my bar was overrun by a hate group has had a legitimate emotional impact on me and has made it hard for me to function. Neither I nor my business partner support any Nazi or white supremacist groups and this is not a Nazi bar. We didn’t have any advance notice that they would be showing up, this wasn’t a meeting that was supported or condoned.
The post goes on to apologize for not having a plan in place to deal with such incidents, while acknowledging that the Proud Boys were allowed to stay in the bar even after employees notified management of their presence:
Many still found fault with that statement, saying the well-known group should have been immediately barred from The Griffin because of their hateful rhetoric and penchant for violence. The Griffin then announced that they would be closed on Sunday because of the incident, and that they would be posting “no tolerance” signs at the front door to advise patrons that the company does not tolerate discrimination of any kind. Eater reached out to The Griffin to find out what further steps the bar may be taking, but so far has not heard back.
This isn’t the first time the Proud Boys have made their way to the heart of Los Angeles to stir up trouble. The group also held a meet-up last month at Highland Park Brewery, forcing co-owner Bob Kunz to disavow the group after LA Taco broke the news.