BERKELEY (CBS SF) — A famed Berkeley hot dog stand announced Monday that an employee who attended a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia resigned from his job after he was outed as a white supremacist on social media.

Top Dog posted a notice outside its building on Sunday saying Cole White who was identified as a white supremacist demonstrator on Twitter was no longer an employee.

“Effective Saturday 12th August, Cole White no longer works at Top Dog. The actions of those in Charlottesville are not supported by Top Dog. We believe in individual freedom and voluntary association for everyone” — the poster read.

The owners Top Dog, which has been in business since 1966, chose to make no other comment Saturday leading to reports that White had been fired.

On Monday, Top Dog issued a statement saying, “we spoke with Cole White. During that conversation Cole chose to voluntarily resign his employment with Top Dog and we accepted his resignation.”

The company said, “There have been reports that he was terminated. Those reports are false. There have been reports that Top Dog knowingly employs racists and promotes racist theology. That too is false.”

“We pride ourselves on embracing and respecting all our differences and every individual’s choice to do as that person wishes within the boundaries of the law,” Top Dog officials said. “We do respect our employees’ right to their opinions. They are free to make their own choices, but must accept the responsibilities of those choices.”

“Individual freedom and voluntary exchange are core to the philosophy of Top Dog,” the company said.

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 Continuing Coverage

Following the resignation, Berkeley police received information about a credible threat made against the business, Sgt. Andrew Frankel said.

Police kept their eye on Top Dog’s three locations overnight and officers will be making extra patrols this week.

TM and © Copyright 2017 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Bay City News Service contributed to this report.


Comments (113)
  1. Eric Koontz says:

    The Top Dog store posted a poster that states “We believe in individual freedom and voluntary association for everyone”. If they supported this, then they would not have fired him. I do not support any racist, but I do support the first amendment and our basic freedoms. One of those freedoms is the freedom to freely associate with a group.

    1. Sam Dennis says:

      The statement is totally contradicted by their firing of him. Typical LibDem hypocrisy.

      1. Thomas Ford says:

        You might recall several events in the recent past.

        The Bakery “Sweet Cakes” in Portland sued and closed by the liberal left for refusing, on religious grounds, to bake a cake for a gay union. Then recall the black clad and masked rioters in Berkeley tearing up the campus over a speaker.

        The owner was damned if he didn’t fire the guy and damned if he did. It seems he’ll take the legal case rather than have his business burned to the ground.

      2. Grizz Mann says:

        He is rumored to belong to BLM.

    2. Simple they didn’t want a thug working there.

    3. No, he quit, he WAS NOT fired. Boycott Top Dog they claimed he quit…that’s great so boycott Top Dog. Hot Dogs cause cancer anyway….

  2. The protesting job probably paid better, anyway.

    1. It must! How else would someone working at a Hot Dog joint afford the time and money to go to and from California to Virginia. Soro’s payroll?????

  3. Hopefully bad things come around for the owners of the restaurant. Karma chameleon.

  4. California labor law is very strict in that you cannot fire people for their political opinion.

    1. Oh good! If it is California law then they couldn’t fire him for a political, i.e. LIBERAL opinion! But fortunately for them he expressed an UNPOPULAR opinion!

  5. Top Dog, “We believe in individual freedom and voluntary association for everyone”. Just as long as you march lockstep with our agenda. There Top Dog, I fixed it for you.

    1. Haha, nailed it! Top dog owner is such a self contradicting moron.

  6. Do we have any information on the owner of that chain? Just so I can ban them from my properties and fire anyone of my employees for frequenting their business.

  7. Billy Ray says:

    Boy I’m guessing, though a bad decision to attend, that there will be numerous lawyers lining up to file a suit against Top Dog. Unless, they can prove that being an employee limits your rights of a private citizen. Your employer simply can’t fire you for being or doing something they don’t agree with. Wow if that was the case then could you imagine the number of people working for healthcare that could be fired for just abusing their bodies all the time. Could you imagine the lawsuits for a company firing a worker for buying a competitors product?

    1. Gaijin Ronin says:

      First off I don’t condone any hate group, left or right in violence. It’s stupid as we the people are not enemies with each other. All the extreme groups at the Charlottesville rally were played against one another. With that said I do support fully the First Amendment whether you were there for the KKK or Antifa. As long as you remain peaceful you can say whatever you want.

      In regards to being fired from your job because of the attending of a rally it depends on the State. Where I am in North Carolina is a right to work state and you can be fired at anytime without notice or reason. That is not to say you can’t sue for what you feel is an unjust reason but in NC good luck with that lawsuit. In California per the state employment rights website in specific regards to retaliation there are protections under “protected activity”. Website is and the phrase in quotes is there with a link. Per the state government website (click the link on the site) it lists under protected activity #5 “Engaging in political activity of your choice.”

      So by all accounts of the California State Employment guidelines the individual that attended the rally cannot be fired for attending the rally. Now the employer could lie and state termination based on performance or something else not protected. Since Top Dog released a statement specifically mentioning the rally attendance. in my opinion this firing is a lawsuit waiting to happen.

  8. Billy Ray says:

    Who is this “legal” analyst and where did she get her schooling? Wow she missed it by that much!

  9. Gam Ray says:

    “It’s also probably not a discrimination issue, because going to a rally like this, participating like this, doesn’t make you a member of a protected class”

    So… you can’t fire someone for being gay, but you can fire someone for attending a pro-gay rally?

  10. Tom Mccoy says:

    Tell some black kid he’s fired because he went to a BLM event?

    Good luck with that.

  11. Jack Haz says:

    “We believe in individual freedom and voluntary association for everyone”

    The test results have come back and your actions speak otherwise.

  12. this guy is gonna own that hotdog stand, how can you lose your job for protesting?? when did being labeled a rascist grounds to be fired??

  13. Ralph Gizzip says:

    ““Effective Saturday 12th August, Cole White no longer works at Top Dog. The actions of those in Charlottesville are not supported by Top Dog. We believe in individual freedom and voluntary association for everyone” — the poster read.”

    Except for Cole White.

  14. All the breathless pearl clutching about these racists and missed is the fact they had to bring in people all the way from California to the other side of the country just to get a few hundred idiot racists in one spot.

    And, all those scary guns all over Charlottesville…and it was car that caused the bloodshed, along with the fists and weapons brought by Black Lies Splatter, Antifa and the no-nazis…no gunshot wounds…hmmm…

  15. gene9156 says:

    Freedom died at a hot dog stand…. Who da thunk????

  16. I’m sure nobody is concerned about misidentifying someone or identifying someone who wasn’t actually protesting, but just happened to be around, or wanted to see the scene. But that’s okay Twitter warriors, go ahead and assume you know all the facts and that anyone in the vicinity is a clear racist. They’ve already risked one man’s life by releasing the WRONG information for the driver (released the info of a man by the same name).

  17. Harvey White says:

    “The actions of those in Charlottesville are not supported by Top Dog. We *believe* in *individual freedom* and *voluntary association* for EVERYONE”

    How ironic!

  18. Political identity is protected class under California law. Stop the liberal media and its blatant lies.

  19. “The actions of those in Charlottesville are not supported by Top Dog. We believe in individual freedom and voluntary association for Liberals ONLY”–Fixed their typo for them.

  20. Cathy Joe says:

    ” a member of a protected class” In one small sentence we see the problem “We the People all have the same rights and no one is MORE protected than anyone else

  21. And all the liberal piggies squealed wee, wee, wee all the way home.

  22. Guido Jones says:

    Hooray for diversity of thought!

  23. Cole Wright lost his job and livelihood for protesting the removal of a statue. The liberal left are the fascists – you can lose your livelihood if you support a cause the left opposes. Next time just wear black masks like the anarchists, communists and socialists. Ya suppose this group is outing those at the protest will search for alt left protesters attacking others with bats, bottles of urine and flamethrowers? Nah, they’re the good guys fighting fascism. Ah the irony of it all. Annoy the lying liberal media that is the Democratic party’s propaganda arm – – VOTE OUT ALL DEMOCRATS!!!

  24. Do the Muslims know about this Top Dog?

  25. Pal Max says:

    Lawsuit worth millions of dollars …. very foolish move on employer.

  26. lol, oh no, im sure he will never get another cook job again. if only the restaurant industry wasnt totally desperate for cooks ALL the time! no literally, all the time. im sure he will have his pick of restaurants to work at while unemployed.

  27. Pal Max says:

    KPIX 5 legal analyst Melissa Caen clearly does not know constitutional nor civil rights law. She makes me laugh at her ignorance.

  28. Steve Kiefer says:

    For years the left decried McCarthyism and blacklisting, now they are using these same tactics to suppress free speech and freedom of assiociation

  29. So they also would have fired now deceased Senator Robert Byrd, former U.S. Senate Majority Leader, because he was in the KKK. Oh yeah, they wouldn’t have because HE WAS A DEMOCRAT. Double Standards!

  30. So, I can easily terminate anyone based on their views? I didn’t fire the employee because they were ______ (Pick one: Male, Female, Straight, Gay, Christian, Jew, Muslim, White, Black, Yellow, Green….), I terminated them because I didn’t like their views. Got it!

  31. Tolerance for me. but not for thee.

  32. Not discrimination? Only a Liberal lunatic would sputter such ignorance. Fine then there should be no problem when I fire someone for being gay or a muslim either.

  33. Good for the restaurant. Now if they were consistent, they’d fire any Antifa, Black Lives Matter, socialists and other fascist vermin. Not holding my breath, though.

  34. Rick Blaine says:

    The leftists never get fired from their jobs for protesting, because they never have jobs.

  35. The left took down a hot dog cook. the power…the awe of the left. Social justice warriors saving the world one weenie at a time.

  36. Mark Mach says:

    Good, sue the company. Free speech is still free speech, not just for some, at least it still is right now.

  37. I think it is hilarious that people are worked up about Top Dog when the legal analyst, Melissa Caen, lied to millions of people in the Bay Area and got away with it.

  38. This does more than exasperates the situation. Now instead of a talking to a young man and asking why he felt he needed to be at this type rally, now he probably feels this is the reason. People who get delight from getting people are despicable.

  39. Joe Boltonn says:

    Everyone is a proponent of Free Speech… when they agree with it. This happened when a number of people working in live theater in CA were “outed” as having contributed to the” Proposition 8″ (traditional marriage) referendum. Most of them were fired or resigned their positions. The same people that defended college professor Ward Churchill’s rants against WTC employees being” little Nazis” said nothing abut this….

  40. Jack Frost says:

    The hubris of the left / progressives / Democrats never ceases to amaze! I am NOT a supporter of “White Power”, “Black Power”, “Brown Power”, … – just of common decency and tolerance – OK, I know, I am now labeled a “racist”!

    History will discuss how today’s progressives are the ones who support: 1) absolute intolerance; 2) legalization of “affirmative action” based racism / sexism / ageism; and probably the worst of all, inviting / encouraging the import of an even more deadly intolerant culture into western civilization – Charles Martel MUST be turning over in his grave!

  41. Jay Jones says:

    So are all the other businesses going to fire all those people on both sides? The other side was throwing rocks, bottles, ans spraying mace and pepper spray in peoples faces, and some used aerosol cans as flame throwers against the white nationalists, so are these violent people losing their jobs as well?

  42. California law about politics at and outside the workplace could protect this man depending upon if his activities “distracted from his work and his job performance”.

    California law bans private employers from discriminating against workers due to their political views, affiliations, or activities. However, there are exceptions. For instance, if you participate in a political activity that creates a conflict of interest with your employer’s business model, your job could potentially be on the line. Additionally, if you are not able to get your work done due to your on-the-clock political activities, it could be perfectly legal for your employer to demote or fire you if they see you as a liability.

    Political Activities Outside of Working Hours

    California law also prohibits employers from adopting any “rule, regulation, or policy” that bars employees from running for public office, or participating in politics outside of work. However, if you decide to run for office or attend a protest outside of working hours, your employer could legally terminate you if these activities distract you from work to a point that your job performance suffers.

    Political Affiliations in the California Workplace

    While it may be legal for you to express your political affiliations and preferences while working in California, there are times when it could be illegal for your employer to do so. For instance, if your supervisor tries to control your and other employees’ political affiliations or activities by using threats of firing or demoting if you do not engage in certain political activities or actions, this could be considered unlawful behavior.

  43. Stu Pedasso says:

    Looks like that weenie is going to have to find a new home. On the bright side, at least he had a job, unlike most of those Antifa folks.

  44. Greg Zotta says:

    The powers that be at Top Dog fired one of its employees for participating in a protest of the removal of Confederate monuments. However they further state, “We believe in individual freedom and voluntary association for everyone.” So if that’s true why did they fire the employee? The leftist DemonRATS are pushing for a civil war. The media keeps calling the group that was protesting the removal of Confederate monuments white Supremacists and white Nationalists in a pejorative manner. They are not calling the unAmerican antifa fascist/anarchists by their true name and ideology, instead calling them anti- white Supremacists and anti- white Nationalists protesters. There are people saying Democrats and Republicans denounce the violence, which is a LIE. During the campaign Killary Clinton had paid goons throughout the country attacking Trump supporters. DemonRATS are despicable anti-Americans. The police did nothing to stop the violence and were most likely told to stand down, especially since the Clinton’s bag man Terry McAuliffe is the governor. Then the anarchists took to the streets chanting whose streets, our streets. They were blocking the streets and sidewalks preventing people to freely move about their business and were a violent mob and the police needed to start arresting the mob. Any criminal behavior should have been dealt with immediately and the perpetrators arrested and taken away. But they were not. Then some driver drove into the crowd killing one woman and injuring several others. That driver has since been arrested. However, the police chief claimed the woman was walking across the street when she was struck, which is wrong. She was in the street with many other anarchists blocking the roadway. This animosity amongst the people is a carryover from the racist Obama Regime and the push by DemonRATS to remove anything to do with the Confederacy, which is something ISIS and the Nazis did.

  45. The internet will be the destruction of mankind, remember the Krell!

  46. We believe in individual freedom and voluntary association for everyone, as long as you think just like us.

  47. “All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.” – George Orwell “ANIMAL FARM”

  48. The people posting the hateful remarks on Twitter INTENDED to have Mr. White fired. Since harm was the intent, I hope he sues the racists who posted those tweets… Now people can’t say/protest anything without the fear of being fired? Welcome to fascism…

  49. Tony Johnson says:

    Fired from cooking hot dogs? All no, what will he do?! LOL, good grief, it was probably a blessing in disguise. Now he can get a real job making real money.

  50. Gary Hoff says:

    Does this set a precedent to fire or hire someone based on their political views? Can a business fire someone for participating in a black lives matter protest that turns violent? Can a business not hire someone because they are republican?

  51. David Caskey says:

    So discrimination is ok. You can fire HIM members, members of the NAACP and others.

  52. Tony Johnson says:

    To add further to my comment above, I do believe the hotdog place set themselves up for a lawsuit. You can’t just fire someone because they were exercising their freedom of protest and speech. Both are protected in the Constitution.

  53. mikesamerica says:

    I wonder if any of the Black Lives Matter or anarchists carrying baseball bats and inciting violence were fired from their jobs? And if they were, can you imagine what would happen to that business?

  54. Sweat Hog says:

    How does a hot dog chef afford to travel across the country to protest on starvation wages?

  55. Fred Hermans says:

    Cole White will be sueing Top Dog for discrimination and damages. Cole White will prevail in court. Liberals have no tolerance and are filled with hatred of white people.

  56. Tom Lohr says:

    I have met and interviewed the owner of Top Dog for my blog about hot dogs. He is a good and decent person. You cannot know every aspect of your employees’ lives. It was brought to his attention and he dealt with it as he saw fit. Don’t like his decision then don’t eat here.
    But I will say, as someone that has eaten at A LOT of hot dog places, Top Dog makes the best hot dog for the money period. Try it.

  57. Awesome that liberals have established that you can fire them for being liberals as long as you don’t have an “official policy” on the issue.

  58. Mark Smith says:

    We are rapidly headed to a point where businesses on both sides will start firing people over politics. This will create economic and violent chaos very fast. And for those who think the ‘right’ will never burn anything down….remember, everyone has their limits.

    Open civil war and martial law is very close now, and soon after that, mandatory microchipping will follow if you want to work, eat and live in the city.

  59. mclowe says:

    Believe it or not, it’s good that these things are happening. The left thinks they somehow own the moral ground on these issues of racism, and in reality they are gravely mistaken. They are demonstrating loudly and clearly that they are exactly the opposite of what America truly stands for. Free speech, whether you like the speech or not, is in the First Amendment, NOT their supposed “right” to come in and be violent against those with whom they disagree. The more they act up, the worse they are making things for the future electability of their party. So keep it up, snowflakes. Real Americans will defend themselves, and the left and their party will gradually die the death they so well deserve. This ain’t the 60’s anymore, people. Deal with it.

    Oh yeah, the more you try to tie this to Trump and his supporters, the more you lose. Even NYT reporters are starting to admit that the lefty violence is getting out of hand. Never thought I’d see that! Even the reporters are starting to tell the truth.

  60. Grizz Mann says:

    It looked like him, but I couldn’t be sure. All White (Cole White) guys look alike.

  61. John Jupiter says:

    great, now let us FIRE all Black Lives Matter supporters…….what is good for them is good for us.

  62. All the SJW issues aside, how does a guy from Berkley that peddles hot dogs end up in Charlottesville?

  63. Top Dog one of the few libertarian leaning companies in the Bay Area. Great statement on their part. “We believe in individual freedom and voluntary association for everyone” — the poster read.”