Video of a white man harassing a barista at a Bedford-Stuyvesant coffee shop in Brooklyn for having a “Black Lives Matter” sign on the store’s window went viral on Thursday. The man, identified by Gothamist as Abraham “Avrumy” Knofler, protested the sign by yelling “All Lives Matter.”
The incident at Burly Coffee/Better Read Than Dead, which is located on Koscuizsko Street, was captured on video by Rohan Singh at around 9:30 a.m. on June 18. He shared the clip on Twitter, writing, “So, this was my morning. I just wanted to get some coffee. But this racist a**hole decided it’s time to educate us and ‘make a protest’ about how ‘all lives matter.’”
In the video, the barista can be heard telling Knofler, “No mask, no service. You need to go.” Knofler points to the “Black Lives Matter” sign in the window and says, “This is the most racist thing out there, I’m not a racist…This is offensive and I want you to take off this sign.”
Knofler says that he’s “making a protest” and breaks out into a chant of “All Lives Matter.” The barista says, “It’s not a protest. You’re just harassing me.”
“I don’t understand why this is so offensive to you to see something saying that ‘Black Lives Matter,’” the barista said. “It’s not saying that all lives don’t matter, it’s just saying that black lives matter because they haven’t mattered in this country ever.”
Singh, who said the incident went on for about 20 minutes, told Gothamist, “From what the barista told me, the man specifically walked up to complain about either the sign and/or the mask policy. The barista was already trying to get the man to leave when I arrived. I stepped up and harshly told him to leave as well, but he wouldn’t. So then I just started filming.”
Knofler Is a Trump Supporter & Believes Coronavirus is a Hoax, According to Gothamist
Knofler’s Twitter account, @YankeeChannel has since been deleted, but according to Gothamist his page was filled with pro-Trump messages, retweets of conservative figures and at least one reference to coronavirus as a hoax with the hashtag, #CovidBS.
“I was making a protest—all lives matter,” Knofler said. As for what he was trying to accomplish with his protest, “They don’t have to take it down,” he added. “I just wanted to defend all lives matter.”
Burly Coffee/Better Read Than Dead Books Put Out an Official Statement Following the Incident
After the video went viral, the barista’s employer shared a strong message of support for Black Lives Matter and their sign. They captioned a photo on their official Instagram page:
We strongly stand with Black Lives Matter and applaud our staff for standing up to the blinding hate that has appeared at our door. Unfortunately, this was not an isolated incident with this person and our priority continues to be the safety and well-being of our staff.
We are overwhelmed by the generous support of our staff via our Venmo Tip Jar. The baristas that experienced this hatred will receive the tips directly. Burly will be making a contribution in support of the community we love and are thankful to be a part of.