Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf in Riverside, California, is the latest coffee shop to deny service to someone — this time a white man who verbally attacked a Muslim woman.
Video of the incident, posted on Twitter by journalist CJ Werleman, had received over 1.7 million views by Tuesday morning. After saying he didn't want to be killed by the Muslim woman, the white customer tried to order. The barista, however, wouldn't serve him and called him "disruptive" and "racist."
The footage begins with the man turning around and addressing the woman in the niqab, a headscarf that covers most of the face except the eyes. "Is this Halloween or something?" the man asks her.
The woman, who's filming the video, asks him why he would say that, to which he responds, “Because I want to.”
“Why, what’s wrong with me?” she asks, eventually panning the camera over her own face, which is covered with the niqab.
After a few more provoking comments, the woman finally asks if the man knows she's a Muslim, which he says he does. “I don’t like it, how’s that?” he continues.
The woman then asks why, and he responds by saying, “I don’t like it because I don’t like your religion. It says to kill me, and I don’t want to be killed by you, how’s that?”
“Are you scared of me?” she responds.
“No,” he says.
They get into a back-and-forth conversation about which religion he identifies as, which is Christianity, and what their respective books of faith say about killing people who don’t agree with them. After just a few seconds, the man says, “I don’t have any conversation with idiots.”
“You are committing hate speech,” the woman said. A customer in the coffee shop, who's out of frame, yells in support of her and tells the man to get out.
“Get out of here, fucking racist,” the customer repeated.
“Fuck you. Shut the fuck up,” the man yelled back at the customer.
The video then skips to another angle of the man, also from the point of view of the woman in a niqab. When he attempts to order a coffee, the woman behind the counter, who identified herself as the supervisor on duty, denied him service.
“Why are you not serving him?” the Muslim woman asked.
“Because he is disrupting a public place and being very racist,” the supervisor responded.
In a press statement, The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf said the company is fully committed to the wellness and safety of its customers, team members, and business.
“We have a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to discrimination of any kind and have the right to refuse service to any person who makes customers or team members feel endangered in any way,” the company wrote.
The interaction comes just weeks after another coffee shop became embroiled in another race-fueled controversy, also caught on video.
In April, a Starbucks manager called the police on two black men who were waiting for a friend but didn’t order anything. One was denied access to the restroom, and police arrested both of them for trespassing. Starbucks and the police later apologized, after boycotts and protests erupted across the U.S.
Cover image: Screenshot of video