Emeryville popcorn shop is facing backlash after witnesses said a worker, later identified as the company CEO, repeatedly hurled racial slurs at a group of young Black customers he demanded to leave the store.
In an interview with the San Francisco Chronicle, Cornology CEO Mark Stone denied any involvement in the incident and claimed one of his employees shouted the n-word while trying to drive out a group of about 25 youths who had stolen popcorn, soda and change from the tip jar.
Witnesses told a different story, however, saying the Cornology worker rudely demanded that a group of roughly 10 Black shoppers leave the gourmet popcorn shop just moments after they’d arrived.
” … This business owner just chased a group of young black kids out of Cornology yelling, “don’t come back here N—–S!” witness Faye Eastman-Adams said in a Facebook post on Sunday. “I went straight to security, along with two other women, to make my complaint against [this] ignorant man. His shop should be shut down! We don’t allow this shit here! Unacceptable!”
Her post has been shared over 6,000 times and has garnered more than 1,000 comments since last week.
DO NOT, I REPEAT DO NOT shop here! This business owner just chased a group of young black kids out of Cornology yelling,…
Eastman-Adams also shared a photo of the “employee” in question — who bore a clear resemblance to Stone, the shop’s owner. An official with knowledge of Sunday’s incident told the San Francisco Chronicle that Stone was the only worker at the business that day and was the one who confronted the teens. The official asked to remain unnamed, as an investigation into what happened at Cornology is underway.
Aisha Weber, another witness who saw the incident in its entirety, said the enraged man used the n-word multiple times.
“He said, ‘Get out of here n—s,’ and he was throwing his hands in the air,” Weber said. “That came from his heart. That came from him. He didn’t want those kids in the store from the beginning.”
Both Weber and Eastman-Adams said the teens were not stealing, but reacted to the worker’s diatribe by knocking over a few items in the store, the newspaper reported.
Growing outrage over the incident prompted Stone to issue a statement. The popcorn paradise has been inundated with negative reviews on Yelp, Instagram and its now-defunct Facebook page.
“Regretfully, you can’t take back something that was in the heat of the moment,” said Stone, who maintains he wasn’t the “worker” involved. “We’re very sorry that was the result of what happened.”
Unfortunately, some employees were sick over the weekend, so there was only one person in the store,” he added. “It startled him. He regrets it terribly. It’s not who he is or who we are.”