Two Bay Area women have become viral villains after videos posted on social media showed them calling the police or threatening to call the cops on people of color for minor violations. Alison Ettel, who has been dubbed “Permit Patty,” was recorded trying to stop an 8-year-old girl from selling water outside her own home in San Francisco on Thursday. And Jennifer Schulte, nicknamed “BBQ Becky,” called the police on a group of black people barbecuing in an Oakland park last month.
The two women have drawn comparisons to each other and there are many similarities. They are both among a string of incidents where white people have reported people of color to police or authorities for seemingly unnecessary reasons. The women have been accused of racism on social media and their photos have both become memes.
Here are a few things they have in common:
Both Women Tried to Play the Victim When Confronted by Those They Were Trying to Get Into Trouble
Both Jennifer Schulte and Alison Ettel attempted to play the vicim when confronted by the people they were calling the authorities on. Schulte was seen on video crying when talking to police and saying she was the one being harassed. Police took a report but did not issue any citations.
On May 24, police released a log that reveals more details about the call. The officer told dispatchers he evaluated Schulte for a 5150 psychiatric hold, but determined that she “didn’t fit the criteria,” according to the report obtained by KTVU-TV.
“A 5150 in California allows a police officer or another professional to take a person into custody for up to 72 hours to evaluate their mental state and whether they are a danger to themselves or to others,” KTVU reports.
The incident took about 3 hours, with Schulte on the phone with police nearly the entire time, records show. At one point, the dispatcher told responding officers Schulte, “sounds 5150.”
Schulte has not commented about the incident.
In the “Permit Patty” video, Ettel can be seen ducking behind a wall and acting like she was being harassed by the woman she was calling security on. Ettel told the HuffPost she felt like she has been “discriminated” against.
“It was stupid,” she added. “I completely regret that I handled that so poorly. It was completely stress-related, and I should have never confronted her. That was a mistake, a complete mistake. Please don’t make me sound horrible.”
They Both Moved to the Bay Area From Out-of-State
Both Schulte and Ettel moved to the Bay Area from elsewhere. Ettel is originally from Georgia and moved to San Francisco to work in the tech and startup world after studying at the Georgia Institute of Technology and the University of Michigan. Schulte grew up in North Dakota and attended the University of North Dakota and Stanford University before moving to Oakland.
Social media users have accused both women of being “gentrifiers,” and calling the police on people of color for simply existing in a neighborhood that they have been in for longer than they have.
Schutle has been in Oakland since 2006 and Ettel moved to San Francisco in 2012.
They Are Both Highly Educated
Schulte and Ettel both are highly educated and don’t meet the stereotypes of a person one thinks of behaving in a “racist” manner. But many on social media are pointing out that it is not just the uneducated, rural, conservative types who are discriminating against black people and other people of color across the country everyday. In other viral incidents, a lawyer was caught going on a bigoted rant against Spanish-speaking restaurant employees and a Yale Ph.D. student called the police on a black graduate student for napping in a common area.
Schulte graduated from Stanford University in 2006 with a Ph.D in chemical engineering, according to her now-deleted Linkedin profile.
Ettel studied economics, finance and international business at the Georgia Institute of Technology. She then earned her master’s of business administration and a master’s degree in urban planning at the University of Michigan.
‘Permit Patty’ & ‘BBQ Becky’ Both Hold Prominent Positions in Their Fields of Work
Both “Permit Patty” and “BBQ Becky” have prominent positions of power within their companies and industries and have received attention for their work.
Schulte works as a senior project manager at an environmental resources and services company in Oakland, according to her Linkedin profile. Her work focuses on air quality. She is also a climate change technical specialist. She previously worked at Horizon Water and Environment, URS Corporation and Environ International Corporation.
An announcement for a 2016 meeting of the American Petroleum Institute shows that Schulte gave a talk titled “OEHHA Revised Risk Assessment Methods: Developing a Facility Game Plan” for the organization. “Dr. Jennifer Schulte is a Senior Project Manager with ERM based in Walnut Creek, California. She has 10 years of experience as an air quality and climate change specialist, and is a recognized expert in the fields of air quality, emission estimation, air dispersion modeling, health risk assessments, and climate change impacts,” the website said. “Dr. Schulte has conducted complex projects throughout California, the United States, and some international locations involving air emission inventories, air dispersion modeling, health risk assessments, and climate change analyses for numerous clients including commercial and residential development projects, ports, transportation, refineries, and various other industrial areas. She conducts air quality and climate change analyses for regulatory compliance, environmental studies required for CEQA and NEPA, and litigation support.”
The Irvine, California, city website shows that she was part of a team that prepared a supplemental environmental impact report as part of a city project.
Alison Ettel is the CEO of TreatWell, a cannabis company, that is researching medicinal uses of pot for pets. She has been cited in several news articles about the industry.