SONOMA (KPIX 5) — Just a week after reopening, a popular Sonoma restaurant closed abruptly this week after receiving death threats amid growing outcry over a Black Lives Matter facemask.
Executive Chef and President of the Girl & the Fig Restaurant John Toulze said the restaurant may be closed indefinitely after briefly being allowed to reopen due to reduced COVID-19 restrictions.READ MORE: Fed Judge in SF Approves $650 Million Facebook Privacy Lawsuit Settlement
“Out of an abundance of caution, the Girl & the Fig Restaurant is closed for the foreseeable future. I don’t really know when it will reopen,” Toulze explained.
Former employee Kim Stout has accused the restaurant of forcing her out of her position five months ago. In a social media post, she said she lost her job over wearing a Black Lives Matter facemask. BLM supporters have vowed to protest the incident.
The restaurant says they support BLM and that Stout was not fired.
“We did not fire Kim!” said Toulze. “In fact, I specifically said to Kim, ‘I don’t want you to leave. I want you to be a part of this place.’ So we did not fire Kim.”READ MORE: UPDATE: Victim, Suspect Identified In Fatal Oakland Park Shooting in Front of Children
Last September, the Girl & the Fig developed a uniform dress code for all servers and staff, issuing company-supplied logo masks to wear while at work. Toulze claims Stout would not comply and quit. He says looming protest are real.
“It’s really a dangerous situation,” said Toulze.
Most locals wouldn’t make comment on camera about the controversy, citing the potential for violence. Lyn Peterson lives in town and says folks are trying to keep things calm. ,
“Just trying to get everybody to realize each others’ struggles and lift each other up, instead of criticize,” said Peterson.MORE NEWS: COVID: Youth, Adult Multi-Team Sports Can Resume In Alameda Co., Berkeley
KPIX 5 reached out to Stout throughout the day for comment, but have not heard back.