Is the Furor Over a Sellwood Market Now Turning Toward Nick Zukin?

Comments

1
Purge the heretics!!! We must have total purity of thought and action! Only then will we have a diverse and tolerant society!

If they agree to wear hair shirts and walk through the streets while we throw rotten food at them, then we should consider (conditional) forgiveness.
2
I don't believe the guy who runs the halal market down the street from me is in favor of gay marriage(or gays at all), but damnit that lamb and goat meat is delicious!
3
Oh jesus fucking christ, Nick. If she had said that she doesn't believe that blacks and whites should marry, but she will obey the law stating that she cannot discriminate against those couples, would you still be defending her? Stupid as fuck, man. You think she should have the right to express herself, but those you find her ignorance appalling should keep quiet and support a business that they don't want to support? You've had too many Tecates.
4
No one needs to support her business if they don't want to, but we don't need social media witch hunts to run her out of business. There is a difference.
6
I liked MMM, but I kind of stopped going there after he was trashing that WW writer and trying to get her fired because she gave a good-but-not-great review of it in the restaurant guide. He seems to have a real temper issue and it doesn't lend itself well to his public image.
7
People can believe what they want. If someone wants to believe that aliens are running our planet, let them. If someone wants to believe in the great sky fairy ("god"), let them. So long as they don't impose their views on others, I couldn't care less.

If they start imposing views, by refusing service / not vaccinating their kids / whatever else, then by all means boycott them.
8
D&W, the real crime is continually passing off a dry reuben as one of the best in the city.
9
@ Jarhead:

An individual's option to boycott a business because they don't agree with the business owner's political views is the very definition of free expression/speech.

And "un-American" has got to be one of the silliest, emptiest terms ever.
10
You neglected to mention that Mr. Beck is also a contributor to Eater PDX. As a journalist, hasn't he crossed the line of journalistic integrity by proposing to boycott a local restaurateur? That seems like textbook conflict of interest, no? I am no big fan of Mr. Zukin's outspokenness, but even the ACLU has defended some pretty unsavory individuals (eg, Nazis in Skokie) to protect freedom of speech for all Americans. Mr. Zukin, albeit in a self-appointed role, seems to be doing just that -- expressing his opinion à la his usual mudraking MO.
11
Yeah, you should report us all to the house unamerican activities committee. That would be the american thing to do.
12
"the line of journalistic integrity"

hahahahahahahahafarthahahahahahhaahahahahahaahahahhaahha
13
hohohohohohohohhjesusfuckingchristyouguyshehehehehehehehehehehehe
14
Pheeeeeeewwww!!!!! Awesome
15
The idea that not wanting to give one's money to a bigot somehow itself constitutes intolerance is so utterly laughable. Bigots can perhaps sell only to whom they want, but consumers can unquestionably make that choice. I've had my last meal at Kenny & Zuke's.
16
Didn't your Mama ever tell you if you don't have something nice to say then shut the fuck up?
17
How this is a free speech issue? No one is going to jail for expressing themselves or voicing an opinion. I think these kind of debates, though super annoying, are ultimately healthy. They force the most vocal people on both sides to confront and/or deal with opposing views. There's nothing wrong with a boycott either - people do it all the time.
18
Ugh this is soooo tired. As many others have sensibly said: Childs is free to be an idiot. People are free to not want to patronize her because she's an idiot. They are free to try to persuade other people to do the same. Other people are free to agree or disagree and act accordingly. AMERICA!

Childs is not entitled to a successful business. She is not entitled to zero consequences from her words and deeds.

Intolerant beliefs are not entitled to tolerance.
19
If you ask me, Byron Beck and Nick Zukin should be locked away together in a room for all eternity (preferably equipped with cameras so the rest of us can watch).

I think the rest of Portland is perfectly able to handle this situation in accordance with their own consciences and without any need for words like "intolerance," "boycott," etc.
20
Feeling vindicated about being fired from Kenny & Zukes last year. That kitchen is filthy.
21
It's not enough to simply allow someone to disagree with us! We must destroy them! Their beliefs are their crime. Only after we purge every sinful thought from every mind can we truly be free. Burn the village to save it, I say! Nay, I demand!!!
22
Oh for christ's sake, Blabby. As others have said, this is not a difference of opinion about paper or plastic (though god knows that could earn her a boycott here), it's about a really ugly hatred masquerading as high principle.

Answer the question: would you be crying for Childs if it turned out she was against interracial marriage, and said "I'm personally against it, but I'll let them in my store. I think private businesses should be allowed to not serve interracial couples, if that's their conscience?"
23
There's no such thing as bad press.
24
"this is not a difference of opinion about paper or plastic (though god knows that could earn her a boycott here)"

That's kind of my point. We're a community that tends to take things too far. Don't shop there if you don't want, but no need for a social media campaign to personally destroy her. We don't need to see her cleansed in holy fire. Just don't shop there. (I'm not attributing that attitude to you, just the high fever that liberal Portland gets whipped up into sometimes.)
25
1000% What Colin said.

I know running food service is difficult. I know working with a fickle public can be frustrating. But it's no coincidence who in the field, in this town, does not hesitate to publicly, angrily defend people like Childs. It's the most smugly combative of the lot, the ones who regularly quarrel with writers and patrons on the internet. Maybe I'm wrong but it seems these people are far more contemptuous of their customers than appreciative. It's a strange phenomenon, such antagonism. Instead of decrying Portland "intolerance" they should be thankful people tolerate them enough to keep earning a living. Other restauranteurs don't chime in with such fervor, perhaps because they're better at prioritizing their time, perhaps because they aren't burned-out, grumpy turds or perhaps they are just better at dealing with the public. That said, some owner in town surely has similar views to Childs but at least is sensible enough to make those views less central to their public postings.

You are welcome to own a business and have public views more aligned with Sweet Cakes By Melissa than The People's Co-Op. You are also welcome to rush to their defense. And people are welcome to ignore their food and your food for that reason or any other. If you've had it with this town transplant your shit to the warm, loving embrace of Spokane or a Phoenix strip mall and forever wash your hands of touchy Portland liberals. Best of luck.
26
@Blabby, I don't think it's the main part of your point. I think you and Zukin, proud libertarians, spoke up because you believe "private" businesses should be free to discriminate in whatever way they see fit. You probably also believe that in the real world, discrimination is going to be a pretty rare event because businesses need money.

You believe it's fair if a handful of people choose to react to that discrimination by not shopping there.

Weirdly though, you seem to think the offended people's freedom should end where they are telling other people what they think and why using mass technology, i.e. the only point at which the reaction might have real consequences for the business owner. How much of that is accurate?
27
So am I supposed to picket the Halal market by my house or not? I'd start with a kosher deli to ease into it, but I don't know where one of those is in Portland.
28
Nick Zukin, and many others here and elsewhere, are making the mistake of thinking people are boycotting the Sellwood store because of Childs' personal views. Wrong. People are choosing to spend their money elsewhere because of her comment that her business (not individual/personal views, but a business practice... big difference) should have the right to refuse service to homosexuals, and the government shouldn't have the right to tell her otherwise. Thanks for playing, but that's illegal. Everyone has individual rights to their personal views (thankfully!), but businesses don't have the right to choose who they do and don't serve by law. Apparently both Childs and Zukin don't believe in anti-discrimination laws.
29
Zukin is a moron. Why not just STFU and not get involved. I will now be avoiding his restaurants as well as the market. Business 101, jeez.
30
I hope you realize that Nick Zukin has not been an owner - or had anything to do with running or profiting from - Kenny and Zuke's for the past three years now. And certainly, I hope you know I share none of his political or social beliefs.

Ken Gordon
Kenny & Zuke's
31
All of you whining about Kenny and Zuke's should probably be whining about Mi Mero Mole instead.

Nick stated rather plainly that he supports gay rights and would join a boycott if Childs were to discriminate against LGBT customers. What he's complaining about are two things:

1. Her lacking a LEGAL right to discriminate. Anyone that's followed Zukin knows he has a very strong libertarian streak, especially when it comes to how he runs his business. I'm glad we have equal protection laws, but that's a different argument than whether or not we should discriminate.

2. The boycott being an over-reaction. They're her personal beliefs, which she has stated she would not act on. While I agree with the bigger point that yes, we probably hand money over to people doing much worse things on a daily basis, I wouldn't be able to hand money over to someone I know equates homosexuality with pedophilia.

While I disagree with Zukin, a boycott of HIS establishments now is getting into crazy-town. He's not a bigot, just "outspoken" to be polite.
32
Nick Zukin says he has family and friends "who vote against gay marriage, etc, who have never discriminated against a gay person", HUH?
33
Fortunately, it seems many commenters here understand this, but I do have a favorite cartoon entitled "But Internets Was Gonna Save Us" to which I propose two new signs be added: http://nobodyscores.loosenutstudio.com/ind…

* FREEDOM OF SPEECH DOES NOT MEAN FREEDOM FROM CRITICISM, and

* THE FIRST AMENDMENT APPLIES TO ACTIONS BY THE GOVERNMENT, THAT IS IT AND THAT IS ALL, NOW SHUT THE FUCK UP.

If people want to not spend their money at Childs' market because she's an asshole, that's their right. If they want to inform others that they should not spend THEIR money at her market because she's an asshole, that's their right.

Typically (though not always, see cult suicides and book burnings), the loonier it gets, the more people will smile, nod, stop calling back the frothy acquaintances, and continue eating bagels. :P
34
I'm boycotting this grocery store because I'd have to go by like, 20 other grocery stores to get to hers.
35
Gotta love Ken Gordon expertly navigating the waters on this one. Deft move, Chef Ken.
36
I agree with the inter-racial marriage analogy - no hypothetical business owner would get any sympathy for stating views against that.

But in 15 years or so, society will overwhelmingly feel the same disdain towards anyone who opposes same-sex marriage. So why wait until then?
37
Maybe running her out of business is extreme, but then, I find her views on gays rather extreme in the current political light.
I'm with Commentary Colin on this.
38
I'm with Blabby, I find these kinds of boycotts repugnant. To quote Andrew Sullivan, "If we cannot live and work alongside people with whom we deeply disagree, we are finished as a liberal society." The guy who posted the video is more of an intolerant bigot than the business owner he made the video about. He uses the same language as the homophobic bigots he hates, does no one find that ironic?

It's one thing to attack and boycott a business when their owners use their business to promote their opinions that we disagree with, and I fully support that. But it's quite another to do so against a business whose owner has done the due diligence of separating their opinions from their business necessary to participate in a tolerant liberal society. But when we drag their privately-held opinions out in to public, then we renounce tolerant liberal society for ideological purity, we become the bigots.

Even more so, when someone like Zukin stands up to defend a business owner's right to a privately held opinion, and we attack and bully *him* with equal fervor, that compounds the problem. We don't even know what it means to live in a tolerant civil society any more. For shame.
39
CC, you're putting a whole lotta biz my mouth there. I didn't identify with zukin's views or say she should be able to discriminate in her business. If the article was stating that she had refused to serve some gay people then I'd be fine with the state being on her case.

I'm saying we need to chill on the self righteous witch hunts. A sizable majority objected to gay marriage until just a couple years ago. We're thankfully moving past that, but we don't need an inquisition for everyone who has expressed such a thing. They'll catch up; it will take time for some minds to change.

MLK and Gandhi and Mandela didn't preach the destruction of their foes but reconciliation. Wanting to destroy and punish is a base instinct, among the lowest of human nature.

The tide of convincing victory for gay people is now apparent on the horizon nationwide. Now is the time to decide if we are going to be big in victory or petty? Better then the haters or just their mirror image. Over the last couple days it doesn't look hopeful...
40
Oh my god, he killed Kenny & Zuke's!
41
See above, please... And we're very much alive, and will gladly serve anyone - regardless of their sexual orientation. Or even if they're right-wing bigots!
42
I've tried to make two primary points: 1) That this course of action by Beck and other is counter-productive, and 2) That it is not proportional.

The goal should be to be able to live together in this society despite our differences, especially the more fundamental ones. "Tolerance" is only meaningful if we tolerate that which we don't agree with or like. That doesn't mean that if someone harms you you just have to take it, but I think it means that if someone believes something you disagree with or says something you disagree with or that is offensive, you respond by trying to persuade them.

No one has claimed that the business at issue here has discriminated against anyone. The business has explicitly said that they would not discriminate. The woman on her personal Facebook page said, basically, that she believes gay marriage shouldn't be legal and that homosexuality is immoral. I strongly disagree with both those assertions. But the way to counter those beliefs and those words is by persuasion. You fight actions with actions and you fight words with words. Here we have words. A boycott or blacklisting is excessive.

And it's counter-productive. You start economically segregating those you disagree with from society and we end up with a more fractured and hateful society. You end up with Israel/Palestine or Ireland/North Ireland.

Does no one have a family member who, despite believing that homosexuality is a sin or whatever, still loves their gay daughter or brother, treating them with the same kindness and care that they do their other family members? There's true tolerance on both sides of that divide and it should be a model for how we act with our neighbors as well.

As I said, a business decides they're not going to serve gay people or their employees treat them disrespectfully, I'll be there with you to protest and mock them on Twitter. But that's not the case here.

I think Andrew Sullivan covered this subject pretty well here:

http://dish.andrewsullivan.com/2014/04/04/…

"If we cannot live and work alongside people with whom we deeply disagree, we are finished as a liberal society."
43
In the UK we have the right to refuse to serve anyone. Yes, you have the right to refuse service to anyone for no reason at all. Usually there are signs up to that effect.

Should say something along the lines of- 'We Reserve the Right to Refuse Service to anyone' This should be in a visible position in your shop, you can always kick anyone out and if they refuse ring the police.
44
Restaurants and food markets will thrive (or not) because of the quality of what they peddle and how they serve it. A local social media campaign won't alter that. Let's not inflate its power. Poor to average yelp reviews have a much more powerful impact than anything Byron Beck can say on his FB page. There are tons of entrenched, poorly-reviewed joints in town.
45
Really? How intellectual! Problem with your argument is that we're dealing with the real world here, and real people, with real emotions. I know you can't - or won't - really understand this, but can you imagine a black person finding out that a certain business will serve them, but only reluctantly, because the government makes them. Up to them, they'd have a sign saying "We don't serve blacks." But they can't do that, legally. Or a Jew finding out that a business would rather them take their biz elsewhere, all things being equal. But they're not equal, 'cause y'know, the powers that be just insist that businesses have to treat people equally. Though that business, if the law would just change somehow, would bar the door. Is it really that hard for you to grasp why that black person or Jew would want to shop elsewhere? And try to get their friends to as well? Now sub Gay for black or Jew.

One certainly has the right to espouse whatever they want. One can believe in or vote for whatever measure they want that espouses the restriction of the rights of a defined group of people, and no one can jail you, fine you, or physically attack you for this. That's our way and it's a good one. But is it really that hard for you to understand that - if you're one of that group, or friend or supporter, or just feel sickened by the fact that their are those intent on restricting their rights - those folks might be a tad reluctant to support your business?
46
I give up. Can someone just tell me if I'm supposed to delete Firefox or not?
47
If people were smart they would be boycotting Zenny & Kuke's for the rip off $13 sandwiches. Why would you need another reason? Too many people in this town feel that if they are charged double the reasonable price for a food item they have gourmet refined tastes. Those are the people that are ruining it for the rest of us.
48
@Ned: Not anymore, but you do need to delete your System32 folder. It's harboring horrible homophobic messages.
49
The pastrami and rye is up to $14. Reuben is $15.45. Great sandwiches, but there are great sandwiches around for $10 and that's not exactly a bargain.
50
There are, in fact, great sandwiches for around $10 - Bunk, Lardo, MCB, to name probably the best of them. But none of those come with a side - add $3-4 for that and you're up to around K & Z's price. None of them have table service - not obligatory, but adds to the cost of doing biz. It would be helpful to compare apples and apples when comparing something, alls I'm saying.
51
Ed Johnston, dude, we ain't in the UK here. Your remarks almost seem condecending about our system, as fucked up as it can be at times.

Not only did we beat your Brit asses long ago, our Constitution is the oldest living document of its' kind.
In the World, if I'm not mistaken.
The US will work its' way through this mess, as ugly as it gets -- but eventually on the moral high ground.
Maybe I am taking your comments wrong, but I have a hard time with other nationalities preaching about their own ways.

Aww fuck, I love Britan too.
You were not preaching either....
52
My name is Sean O’Riordan and on April 2nd I released a video on YouTube regarding the Facebook postings of an owner of a business that was moving into our neighborhood. I, and much of the greater community at large, found these postings to be objectionable. Since we were unable to get a reply from Moreland Farmer’s Pantry after several requests for clarification, the video containing the information was made and uploaded.

On the morning of April 3rd, John Childs, one of the owners of the Moreland Farmer’s Pantry came to my home, introduced himself and asked if we could have a conversation. I found Mr. Childs to be a man who is sincere in his beliefs and passionate in discussion.

Although he and I fundamentally disagree on several issues, we were not disagreeable in our discussions. Mr. Childs asserted that he understood our family’s position and assured us that neither he nor his wife nor their business would ever discriminate toward their customers.

Mr. Childs realized that words had been spoken and it was time for action. He proposed to donate to a local LGBT program in Portland as a show of good faith. This was before any press was involved. I agreed that was a great start and once that was achieved I would take the YouTube video down.

We shook hands and gave our word.

Soon after he and I found ourselves in front of the camera broadening the conversation. In Portland, the conversation exploded and I implore all of us to act with the dignity that we expect to receive. John and I can do that face to face. Don’t allow the anonymity of the keyboard reduce you to your worst self.

After the interviews, John reached out again via email. I have included his note below with his permission.

‘Sean,
Thank you for taking the time today to speak with me about the Facebook posts. As I mentioned in our conversation, neither Chauncy nor I have a discriminatory bone in our bodies. We abhor discrimination in any form. But what we abhor more than that is anyone imposing their will on someone else even when they are in the right.

I believe our post said that "of course a business can discriminate against gay people". I apologize, we probably could have chosen a better subject to express the view that we should not restrict anyone's right to free speech and expression, even when we disagree with them. Other businesses and people can discriminate as much as they want, but to their detriment. Our business does not and will not discriminate.

We understand how this post could have been interpreted as anti-gay but I assure you that was not our intention in the least.

Thank you again for your understanding ear.
John Childs
Moreland Farmers Pantry’

At 4:56 pm 04/04/14 I received a confirmation of a sizable donation from Mr. Childs to Equity Foundation, http://www.equityfoundation.org/, a Portland based LGBTQ foundation.

The purpose and mission of the Equity Foundation is to “leverage resources to create social, economic, and political equity for the LGBTQ community”.

Mr. Childs kept his word as I have mine; The video has been removed and perhaps light has been shed on a subject that runs pretty deeply in our community. We have agreed to disagree. In a healthy, open society people are free to not want to patronize any business that does not fit their value system, and they are free to try to persuade other people to do the same. While I wish John well, I will continue to shop with businesses that align with my values.

My hope is that the day will come when equal rights for all is no longer an issue. Sadly, we are not there yet, but perhaps we are just a little closer.
Sean O’Riordan
04/04/14
Sellwood, Oregon
53
Sean, good for you. And I don't mean because you took down the video or that you compromised. I think that's good, too, but just being willing to talk with someone you strongly disagree with and try to make something better of the situation and something better for the community you care about -- the reason you put up the video in the first place. I think that's wonderful. Really. I'm extremely impressed. I think a lot of people would have felt they invested too much at this point and had to double-down on their position. It shows that you have great character. I wish our politicians had such character.
54
"of course a business can discriminate against gay people"

Ooooh...did you read that? Well, we'd never ever do that.

(But it's OK to do that...but we never ever would.)

Here's a check, OK?

We're cool?
55
You mean that it turns out that they are nuanced human beings? And there is more to the story than 2-dimensional online attacks would lead us to believe? Wooda thunk?

Well, we better burn him anyway just in case he's a witch.
56
Right, Blabby, not shopping at someone's store is like burning them at the stake.

Nuanced, indeed.
57
Gosh, I guess if one is racist and a libertarian business owner with racist ideology and convictions,, they also have the right to refuse service to people of color according to circular logic that Mr. Zukin is pandering. The bottom line, if you choose to discriminate against customers based on intrinsic traits, that includes sexual orientation, ethnic identity,gender etc.. your business deserves to be boycotted by the intelligent, well informed civic conscious citizenry. That's whats known as community censure. Lets take it a step further and propose voluntary segregation by business owners that choose to discriminate against others whom they deem unfit and so offensive to self righteous personal convictions. By the same token, they will and should suffer the consequences for flagrant disregard of individual civil rights and Constitutional law. No one is dictating to you , bigoted business owners, however, if you parrot archaic uneducated views and expect the rest of the civilized community to NOT publicly censure you for exclusion of protected classes from patronizing your business you truly are living in a delusional pre integrationist bubble. Sure, express your convictions all you want and enact exclusionary policies in your business establishment all you want. You have the right to be a bigot, but you might want to prepare to start cultivating customers from people who think the as you do. Because, the majority of Americans are far more enlightened than people like you and wont patronize your businesses. That's not a witch hunt but the consequences and repercussions of your publicly stated bigotry. That's the beauty of freedom of speech. You have the right to believe as you do and state it and the rest of us who disagree have the right to vociferously respond. Now that's Democracy in action.
58
These people seem to forget that many Constitutional laws were passed PROHIBITING discrimination. Portland Or and Multnomah County have specific anti discrimination statutes covering, race, age , gender and sexual minorities. So if your business is operating within the Portland Metro , Mult. County area , you are breaking not only the US Constitutional laws but local state, county , city statutes. Those of us who have experienced racial, gender discrimination recognize bigotry when its presented. There's no way to justify a prejudiced mindset regardless of which community or people its directed toward. I encourage anyone that's opposed to exclusionary practices and all forms of bigotry to follow Dr. Kings example and call out discrimination publicly, acknowledge it for what it is and DO BOYCOTT BUSINESSES that engage in discriminatory policies.
59
In as far as the owners of Farmers Market posting on FB, kudos for identifying yourselves as Libertarians and hiding behind that political flag to cloak your bigoted views. The argument you espouse is disingenuous considering, we live in a Democratic REpublic , subject to civil laws that you apparently advocate flagrantly disregarding. The donations to gay organizations does not undo the damage. My friends and I wont be shopping there. The word is spread.
60
To go 1 step further: Let's assume that the owners of the new Moreland Market are homophobic, but will serve Gay people because they have to... it's the law and an easy thing to prove if one is in violation. But what about hiring an otherwise qualified Gay person? Everyone knows it's pretty easy to find some reason not to hire someone, qualified or not, laws or no. Are the Moreland Market folks promising that they'd hire a qualified homosexual as well as serve them? Again, substitute Jew or Black for Gay, and this becomes more than just a matter of opinion. IMO, stating that you don't want a new bridge or light rail is an opinion. Saying you think that a certain minority shouldn't be allowed certain basic human rights goes beyond mere opinion, especially with expressed intent - or even expressed desire - to subvert those rights.
61
60 comments? Wow......unfortunately I learned nothing here other than bigotry still exists and "Portlanders" are mad as hell about it or at least mad enough to argue with each other......wait, I take that back someone actually did do something. Good for you
62
With all the super left hand wringers in this town it's a miracle that Michael's Italian Beef & Sausage Co. still has customers.

Blabby's got it right. If they don't believe like us we obviously have to lambaste/decry/stone them. It's the only way to have a tolerant, diverse, sustainable population.
63
Too bad Nick Zukin hasn't given up on high school debate club. He will never master the art of the Socratic method and consequentially his debate skills will remain sophomoric. Oh course, his belief that people owe it to any and every business to patronize said business needs to grow up as well.
64
@Cat Dynes

The point you seem to be missing -- or willfully ignoring -- is that the business in question has specifically said that they do not and will not discriminate. You also seem to be missing something that I've said maybe -- I don't know -- 100 times or more since this whole thing started: that if they were to discriminate, I would be there to protest the place as well. There is a substantive difference in speech and action and that calls for a substantive difference in how you respond to speech and action.

By the way, am I reading you right? You don't want to burn witches (ie, directly harm them), but you do want to put a scarlet letter on bigots chests, yes?
65
This all just make me sad. These kinds of crusades represent the worst of Portland's instincts.

Maybe the main takeaway is that some guy named Sean O'Riordan needs a hobby. Waaaay too much time on your hands, Sean.
66
Is Portland becoming another Germany? Are we creating a lists? Maybe Portland should have segregated areas for restauranteurs who don't believe like the masses. And you're right, Sean should start roller blading or finding some other ridiculous hobby instead of attacking businesses.