After various sexist, racist, Islamophobic and hateful rhetoric from the owner and staff of a bar in Austin, protests are breaking out across the area to fight the hate.
Unbarlievable, located on Rainey Street, was surrounded by protesters June 30. The protestors were calling for the owner, Brandon Cash, to cut ties with the establishment after posting crude comments in response to online reviews.
Christian Rodriguez, organizer of the protest, said he is determined to fight against the discriminatory language.
“The protest was to bring awareness to the problem at Unbarlievable,” Rodriguez said. “When I look at the owner creating an identity around hate and bigotry, I see that he is attracting people who align with that mindset. There are consequences to your actions. This protest was the beginning of the journey, not the end.”
Since January, patrons of the bar have left bad reviews of the establishment on Facebook and other rating sites, expressing their concerns regarding discriminatory acts. Cash has since responded to each review with a different answer.
In January, the first problem arose when a patron gave the bar a one-star review on Yelp. Cash responded to the review immediately.
“I hope you don’t have any daughters because they are definitely gonna get grabbed by the pussy you stupid fucking ant! Anybody know this pile of shit?” Cash wrote in a comment.
The second situation occurred mid-March when an Unbarlievable employee brought a table’s beer out and placed them in the shape of a swastika upon a customer’s request. Another customer, at an adjacent table, complained to management but was told nothing was going to be done about it.
The customer later reviewed the bar on Facebook, where the Unbarlievable account responded to the negative experience.
“All complaints should be directed to our HR department. You can reach them at firstname.lastname@example.org,” Unbarlievable commented.
The patron who ordered the beer in the shape of a swastika, Tyler Goodson, openly admitted to the act on his Facebook page, where friends fully supported his post.
“Here we have a bunch of crybabies whining (protesting) over something I did at a bar that a table next to me complained about in a review that I also responded to,” Goodson wrote on his post. “Yes I made a swastika on a table with beer. Was it right? Probably not. Do I care? Certainly not.”
The third problematic situation was in May when a customer left a negative review on Google Reviews. The customer said the business was “ill-conceived and poorly executed,” and the Margarita his date ordered was disgusting.
The response from the owner on Google Reviews was deleted but read as follows in a screenshot taken:
“Let’s be honest with each other…the only thing ill-conceived around here was your birth. And that wasn’t a margarita! Since you had a towel on your head my bartender thought you were the new busy boy and handed you some dirty dishes to wash. Side note: next time you ship in a prostitute from out of town you don’t have to take her out and buy her drinks to get laid.”
Lastly, the fourth incident occurred on Cash’s Facebook page.
Cash wrote he was, “Looking for a really tan/brown small human to walk around unBARlievable, tugging on people shirts while attempting to sell them chicle.”
Cash added to the post, “For those of you who are offended by this post please send your complaints to email@example.com.”
Cash issued a statement to the public June 28 via his website and Facebook. He apologized for his actions and wishes to earn back the trust of the Austin community.
“It is with profound humility that I issue this heartfelt apology,” Cash wrote. “To those who I have hurt and offended, I am deeply sorry. My words and actions were wrong, inappropriate and inexcusable. They certainly don’t exemplify the values of a community that I love and care deeply about and my insensitive actions do not represent those of my loyal and dedicated employees.”
Cash goes on to say he knows forgiveness will not come easily, but pledges to earn it by working diligently to earn back the trust of the community.
After the protest ended, Cash released another statement where he apologized again and acknowledged how his actions have impacted the citizens of Austin.
“The recent community outrage has been a wake-up call for me personally,” Cash wrote. “I’ve witnessed the overwhelming anger in direct response to my deplorable conduct and I want to assure everyone that I have taken it to heart. To the Austin community embarrassed by my actions and to those individuals I have personally offended, I apologize. I will be making immediate changes to our personal conduct and interactions with our patrons.”
The Goodnight, a bar Cash had part-ownership of in Austin, announced on its Facebook page an agreement to purchase the remaining ownership.
In addition to Unbarlievable, Cash owns Rooftop on Sixth in Austin and Rooftop on the Square in San MarcosThe TABC is now conducting an investigation over Cash and his unbarlievable establishment.