Quantcast

“This is not a Nazi bar’ — Confrontation erupts at The Griffin in Atwater Village [update]

Griffin Bar in Atwater Village

Atwater Village —  Police were present early this morning at The Griffin Bar after a fight reportedly broke out involving a group who arrived wearing red Make America Great Again hats and allegedly taunted other patrons.

Many Twitter users accused the group of being members of The Proud Boys, which has been described as a far-right group, and blamed the bar for hosting their gathering and “serving a bunch of Nazis.” However, the bar this afternoon denied those claims in its own social media posts.

“I’m Jewish and finding out that my bar was overrun by a hate group has had a legitimate emotional impact on me and has made it hard for me to function,” said a post on The Griffin’s Facebook page. “Neither I nor my business partner support any Nazi or white supremacist groups and this is not a Nazi bar.”

The post, which did not identify the writer, went on to say:

“We didn’t have any advance notice that they would be showing up, this wasn’t a meeting that was supported or condoned. I wasn’t there last night, but I was informed that there were proud boys in the bar. At this time there was only a handful. Ideally that would be stopped at the door, but since they were already inside I advised that we use a tactic that I’ve used in the past with gang members or people that are obviously in there to cause problems, kill them with kindness and they’ll get bored and go away. We are generally a pretty mellow and peaceful bar with no real security and I foolishly thought this was the best way to ensure they’d leave without putting my staff in danger. Neither myself nor my business partner were there or had any idea that more were showing up en masse.”

Jonathan Blaize Hensleigh and Aaron Mark Chepenik are the owners of the bar, according to the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control.

A video posted on Twitter shows least one police officer was present as heated arguments and yelling took place outside the bar at Los Feliz Boulevard and Boyce Avenue.

However, an LAPD spokeswoman said there were no indications that anyone was arrested.

Correction: A previous version of this story incorrectly described the Proud Boys as a white supremacist group.  While they have been described as such by others, The Proud Boys have denied that representation.

Update on Tuesday, July 17: L.A. Times weighs in with a detailed account of how the Los Angeles Democratic Socialists of America confronted the Proud Boys members gathered at the bar.

Update: The Griffin said it will be closed tonight Sunday, July 15, and that no persons with any affiliation to any hate group will be allowed on the premises.”  Police told CBS2 that people on both sides of the confrontation left the bar when told to do so.  LA Taco says 20 Proud Boys members were in the bar when they were confronted by supporters of the Los Angeles Democratic Socialists of America and Defend North East Los Angeles.

Capture
The Eastsider’s Daily email digest includes all new content published on The Eastsider during the last 24 hours. Expect the digest to land in your in email in box around 7 p.m. It’s free to sign up!

Once you submit your information, please check your email box to confirm your subscription.


42 comments

  1. Just because they had hats on that said MAGA is not proof they were with or associated with any group. They might have been liberals trying to smear Conservatives.

    • How much is a ticket to your reality?

    • “they might have been liberals trying to smear Conservative..” yeah that’s probably totally what it was, happens more than you’d think.

      Do you want to buy a bridge?

      • Maybe it was a Russian misinformation campaign – they were disguised as American conservatives under direct orders from Putin to create political unrest so Trump gets re-elected for a second term…thereby allowing Russia through Putin to continue to control America through Trump since Trump has been compromised and is a secret Russian agent….fewwwww.

        And yes, I’ll take that bridge!

    • The people in the red MAGA hats were from the Proud Boys which is a white supremacy group.

      • Johnny, I never heard of Proud Boys before, but I have now read up on them some. Actually, they say they are not white supremacists, they say they are opposed to apologizing for being white. They are proud to be white, but they say they are not against other races.

        I even heard one of them arguing in the video that he was not racist, he even claimed to have a mixed child.

        Can be hard to catch the difference, I would not be surprised if at least some of them actually are supremacists.

        And they tout chauvinism, thus the “boys” part.

        Nonetheless, those distinctions aside, they clearly look for confrontation — from the experience in this case and from things written about them. They seem to stem from a bit of skinhead and anarchist influence. They seem to think that creating trouble is a matter of asserting pride.

        • Some of them online defending this have also called for “boot parties.” One killed multiple people on a train after they attempted to intervene when a Muslim and a black person had racial slurs, etc. thrown at them by one of the leaders of the group. He also threw up the Nazi salute. He was never denounced.

          While the ENTIRE GROUP may not be “white supremacists” they certainly don’t care enough to reject those who blatantly are.

    • Duncecap Murnan

      Yep, probably Angels fans who didn’t bother to check the logo.

  2. I was missing Atwater Village since moving to Arizona where a neighbor told me, “Hitler had some good ideas….”After reading this story I realize that bigots are everywhere even in the center of LA and now they are all encouraged to make themselves known. What a pity.

  3. Unsure what went down but The Griffin gave free drinks and food to the writers during the writer’s strike… it’s an nice establishment and I’m sorry this happened.

  4. It sounds like the bar possibly handled the situation poorly, as their traditional plan of trying to deescalate aggressive situations by calmly serving the difficult patrons until they leave, failed them. But it’s crazy to me that people are now attacking a place that has served a diverse neighborhood for over a decade because of who chose to drink their Saturday night. It’s not like this group had a reservation for “Nazis” and the owners welcomed them in. Bar owners avoid aggressive groups of any kind, let alone ones that would offend the owners themselves, the diverse staff and its diverse patrons.

    Yet, people are calling for boycotts of the bar, for it to be closed down, and on the bar’s Facebook page even saying the Jewish owner is a traitor to Jews and a Nazi, rather than protesting again the Proud Boys.

    It’s a mob and for some reason it’s chosen to go after a victim rather than a perpetrator. Social media is really awful.

    • Counterpoint: it seems reasonably clear that the bar made a major error in failing to expel a large gathering of white nationalists. Whether that error came from an innocently misguided attempt at de-escalation or a more cynical calculation about drink sales, these sorts of errors have to have costs — moral hazards and all. Getting bombed for a few days on Yelp and having to close for a day to make amends seems to me like an appropriate cost.

  5. OBVIOUSLY Do not support White Nationals or Nazis (OR THEIR ESTABLISHMENTS)! Like THIS ACTUALLY HAS TO BE SAID! But I guess that in these times, WE REALLY MUST DO SO ! It so extremely tragic that we must fight this HATRED, BUT WE MUST…or we will be condemned to repeat it.
    I WILL NOT STAND FOR THIS OR OR THE ATROCITIES OF THE PAST!!!

    • They showed up at a bar that is open to the public, it’s not a Nazi establishment It’s been a well liked neighborhood bar for over a decade. The bar management may have not handled things superbly this one night (I’m not sure how they could other than shutting the bar down earlier) but they apologized for any mistakes they made.

      Please save your pitchfork for members of hate groups, not the random places they choose to show up.

  6. Amazing beyond BELIEF that you would call the Proud Boys a
    ‘White Supremacist’ group. A group of males that embrace actual masculinity instead of effeminate soy boy demeanor indicates hope for our future. What IS abhorrent is for someone to use their notoriety to gather a band of thugs because HE has decided a group is unwelcome and a threat.

    • This is absolut my absure. I can’t believe you’re on this “soy boy” thing. Learn to think for yourself instead of constantly repeating silly phrases you heard at Church.

    • That isn’t something she heard at church. All women are not the same, many absolutely demand that men be strong and dominating and demanding and rough — they see that as a winner, and they don’t want a wimp, as they see it, they don’t want men to be emasculated, in the word expressed by conservative actress and commentator Stacey Dash. Many other woman don’t want that, they want various other kinds of men, men who will yield and be polite, men who seem reasonable, whatever generally gentler characteristics they might want.

      As far as what kind of man someone might prefer, I figure to each his/her own. But I don’t see that that makes intentional provocation and confrontation of the physical kind acceptable.

    • Soy boys aren’t even a real thing.

    • While I find the Proud Boys to be a bit bent in their reported confrontational approach and aggressiveness, from the story about this incident in the LA Times today, it sounds like they went there as a group, but they weren’t doing anything so far but being there. A second “liberal” organizer had heard they were going there, organized a group to go to confront them. At the bar, the “liberal” group started yelling at the Proud Boys. When one Proud Boy approached the organizer, a woman with the liberal group blocked him and pushed her hand at his chest, and he responded by pushing back, and she fell. Then the liberals again provoked by grabbing a hat off one of the Proud Boys, and the fight ensued from that.

      While previous stories have indicated the Proud Boys provoked confrontation in those instances, today’s Times story sounds like the opposite in this case!

      Hey people, if provocation and confrontation are wrong, it is wrong for both sides. The “liberal” group went there for a purpose, and as the Times reports it, the “liberal” group provoked and started the confrontation. Oh, the Proud Boys MIGHT have eventually done so themselves, maybe, but they never got the chance.

      • Agree, Josh Androsky and his girlfriend were the ones starting a fight. josh stated ini the LA Times article that he went there with the intention of starting crap. Why do women feel the need to intervene on behalf of their boyfriends? Is it because she didn’t expect to get shoved back?

      • Liberals need to learn how to not always take the bait… these “proud boys” are basically just trolls. Ignoring them would’ve been the best approach. Starting a fight and ending up on the news is exactly the kind of attention they were looking for. SMH.

      • Riding and drinking as a crew, wearing matching gear and insignia, claiming turf? Sounds like gang activity to me. I assume once local gangs get wind of an outside group planting their flag on their turf they’ll proceed to test the pride of these boys.

  7. David Rocket Rowley

    Should have had some Toonerville and Frogtown Homies outside working together to welcome them.

  8. So the Republican Party is now officially designated a Hate Group. Got that.

    • When your President (not mine) supports white supremacy you are damn right it is.
      Or at least a faction of it. Trumps faction. The proof is clear. Let’s not even try to dismiss it or say otherwise. Those hats should read “Make America White Again.”
      Not to mention other notably RACIST staff members inside the Trump Whitehouse. Including Jeff Sessions.
      So enough of this deflection that he and his Presidency doesn’t support white nationalists, white supremacy, and keeping IMMIGRANTS and MINORITIES in a place of weakness.
      It’s time to call a spade what it really is. A spade. Not something distorted or made up to be something else by lying and saying it’s something else over and over. Something Fox News loves to support.
      Trump and his supporters spew lies as truths, and they turn the clock back on America’s progress. Thankfully his reign will end soon.

    • See Charlottesville.

    • since they started backing putting children in cages, yeah I guess that’s pretty much what they are.

      Oh and your dear leader committed an act of treason against this country on Tv this morning.

      we can start on the recent acts and then move down the list, but it’s a long list

    • The GOP has a literal Nazi on the ballot in Illinois. So yeah.

    • This wasn’t just the GOP. It was a different group. You’re conflating the two.

    • i mean..not all republicans are racist..but chances are if you’re a racist..pretty sure you’re a republican

  9. You’ll find that far right groups and far left groups are more alike than different. Funny thing is, Hitler was a Socialist.

    • Mike, please, read your history instead of just latching onto monikers. Hitler was a National Socialist – as defined (by National Socialists) this was entirely different from socialism. Hitler, like Mussolini, was a shill for corporate interests. Please read some histories.

      • Crazy. Next you’re going to tell me that the People’s Republic of Korea is not a truly representative republic…

    • Is this comedy, Mike? Do some research. Yikes.

  10. Sadly, they are getting slammed on Yelp with pages of bad ‘reviews’, most of which (even yelp agrees) are from people who haven’t been there. Yelp has posted an up front notice that they are ‘reviewing’ the reviews because they realize that most recent ones are because of the notorious publicity. So far, however, they’ve done no removals. Let locals (and people who feel a need to check in from around the country) continue to debate the unfortunate incident, but let’s not punish a long time neighborhood establishment for the actions of a few activists. It appears that the owners (who were not present on the night in question) have nothing to do with this, and they have addressed it in a cogent way.

    • this isn’t sad, it’s well deserved.

      • no, it is not well deserved. Unfortunately there isn’t a precedent for this kind of thing happening at an otherwise earnest establishment, and the staff obviously hadn’t been screened for the situation. It only takes one incedent to learn, but the sad part is how ready people are to demonize them for that. Doesn’t matter for you, your business isn’t at stake. Before you slam someone’s livelihood, and really, think about what is at stake for them vs you, take 5 minutes to understand WHY something like this might happen to a bar, and wonder if it really means you want to cast them under your net of racism. Here I’ll help you:

        ” I’m Jewish and finding out that my bar was overrun by a hate group has had a legitimate emotional impact on me and has made it hard for me to function. Neither I nor my business partner support any Nazi or white supremacist groups and this is not a Nazi bar. We didn’t have any advance notice that they would be showing up, this wasn’t a meeting that was supported or condoned. I wasn’t there last night, but I was informed that there were proud boys in the bar. At this time there was only a handful. Ideally that would be stopped at the door, but since they were already inside I advised that we use a tactic that I’ve used in the past with gang members or people that are obviously in there to cause problems, kill them with kindness and they’ll get bored and go away. We are generally a pretty mellow and peaceful bar with no real security and I foolishly thought this was the best way to ensure they’d leave without putting my staff in danger.” -more on the Griffin facebook page.

Post a Comment

Please keep your comments civil and on topic and refrain from personal attacks. The moderator reserves the right to edit or delete any comments. The Eastsider's Terms of Use and Privacy Policy apply to comments submitted by readers. Required fields are marked *

*