In San Francisco, the owner of Ritual Coffee Roasters terminated her husband from their business after he used a racial slur against a Black man during an altercation outside their warehouse.
According to the San Franciso Chronicle, Eileen Rinaldi confirmed her husband John Rinaldi, also known as "Chicken John," will no longer have an active role in the business. Before his firing, he was working on a freelance construction project at the company’s warehouse.
“This was an unfortunate incident over a parking spot. I have apologized for repeating the derogatory word that was shouted at me. A word I never, ever use. I regret the incident and feel terrible about it. I am deeply disappointed in myself for meeting hostility with hostility, and allowing the situation to escalate,” he added.
After the incident, Eileen and her leadership crew contacted every employee to “let them know that I’m welcoming and wanting to talk with anyone who wants to hear more, share their thoughts, or talk about any of it with me,” she said.
Last summer, Ritual Coffee Roasters made headlines as it became a hotbed of racial tensions. Ritual employees began an email campaign to bring attention to the lack of diversity and racial bias that existed there as reported by Mission Local.
The employees cited at least two confrontations with customers of color, including one where John called the police on a Black customer in 2019. After the campaign, Eileen pledged that she would take the necessary steps to enact meaningful change by “creating a better work environment for our BIPOC employees.” She also acknowledged that the leadership team didn’t reflect the diversity of her staff.
“A lot of current criticism stemmed from past incidents in which staff called the cops on people of color,” she said. “I now recognize that, by using the police as a first line of defense, we have created a larger risk for those disproportionately affected by police brutality and violence in the process.”
John has gained a less than flattering reputation because of his behavior in the past. Chyler Barraca, a former Ritual employee, claimed that John “didn’t bother to get to know the employees, and was “standoffish, kind of a jerk,” she recalled.
“His reputation was known within the entire company,” she said.
On Ritual’s Instagram, Eileen condemned her husband’s actions saying she’s, “committed to doing the necessary work of continuously evolving how we are an anti-racist, inclusive, and equitable business and place for our employees, customers, and community.”