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Twin Cities Bar Closes Amid Outrage Over Owner’s $500 Donation to David Duke

Minneapolis Bar

Several Club Jager employees willingly quit after learning of the bar owner’s ties to former KKK leader David Duke. (Image courtesy of Thrillist)

After learning a Minneapolis bar owner donated $500 to former KKK leader David Duke’s 2016 Senate campaign, performers’ cancellations and customer boycotts forced the local bar to shut its doors.

Former employees of Club Jäger confirmed Friday, Sept. 1, that the bar was closed, leaving 17 employees out of a job, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported. Workers were livid after finding out about the owner’s donation to Duke and said the decision to close the business was made by bar operators, not the bar’s owner, Julius DeRoma.

The backlash came full force last week after CityPages published an article about DeRoma’s donation to Duke’s failed bid for the U.S. Senate. The news prompted local DJ Jake Rudh to announce that he would no longer host his long-standing weekly dance night, called Transmission, at Club Jäger. On Facebook, Judh wrote that he didn’t want to be in a “venue where where the owner supports the likes of David Duke and his messages of hate.”

“I thank all of those who have come to the venue to support myself, Transmission and its hardworking staff,” he added. “This is not the end of the weekly dance night — but it very much is at Club Jäger. Bigotry, hate, violence and racism have no place at Transmission or anywhere on this planet.”

Other acts soon followed suit, including The 90’s Preservation Society and Twin Cities writer Rob Callahan, who has hosted trivia night at the bar since 2008, the Star Tribune reported. The Preservation Society cancelled its standing Thursday night show at the bar via social media but directed loyal fans to a GoFundMe page in support of Club Jäger’s ex-employees. Callahan also chose to end his Tuesday trivia night.

While some workers willingly quit after learning of DeRoma’s donation, others stayed because they had families to feed.

By Aug. 30, the bar was nearly empty, save for a few customers who were unaware of the controversy and a group of white nationalists who spewed racist comments at employees. Callahan told the paper that a group of men angered by the donation followed one worker into the street, accused her of being a Nazi lover and then spat on her.

“The people working there didn’t want to keep this guy’s business operating and continue to face the harassment,” Callahan said.

The bar was shut down for good on Thursday, Aug. 31.

DeRoma’s plans for the now-defunct club are unknown, but ex-employees made it clear that they want no parts of it.

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