Backlash over White Supremacist Gathering in Conway
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – A weekend gathering of a white supremacist group at a Conway coffee shop has the owner of the Mean Bean Cafe reacting with swift action and a statement denouncing the meeting.
"Recently, a long time employee asked if our business could be used after hours for a political meeting of a conservative group. We questioned the employee in detail about the purposes of the gathering and we were assured that no extremist or other hateful views would be exchanged as we do not condone that. We were leaving town for the weekend after our family had suffered a loss. Our mistake was trusting an employee, who in hindsight, should not have been trusted. We are appalled that the employee hijacked our business to provide a platform for hate and we absolutely denounce it and all forms of hate.
Steps have been taken to insure this does not happen again, and the employee has been fired. We absolutely love our community and it’s diversity. Through the years, our business has made positive contributions to our community and we will continue to do so. We are sorry for our mistake and ask for your forgiveness," read a post on the cafe’s Facebook page.
The above statement was posted after a large number of posts expressing outrage and other reactions were made on the cafe’s Facebook page.
Our content partner Max Brantley (Arkansas Blog) reports the meeting included a well-known figure in the white nationalism movement. He says anti-racist organizations reported the meeting on Facebook and posted photographs and other details about it.
"The Mean Bean cafe is run by Christian owners and Christian staff. We in NO WAY support the group that held a meeting at the cafe yesterday – we find it appalling. We love Conway and would never support or encourage any negative/hate group – we have children and try to live our lives supporting high values. It was rented on a trusted relationship. I was led to believe that it was a political support group. As a business owner, we regret that we trusted that relationship. No restaurant renting space can always know the agenda of renters – we were lied to. We hope that you will address the ugly politics of this hate-group and focus your attention on that. Making quick judgments only spreads more hate and divide among the people – which is what groups like that strive for. We live in challenging times and want to extend our humble apologies for our error in judgement," read another post by the cafe owner.