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After bar altercation between Proud Boys and Democratic Socialists of America-LA, how should bar owners and restaurateurs handle similar incidents?

A still from a video posted on Twitter captured part of a confrontation between Proud Boys and Defend North East Los Angeles.
A still from a video posted on Twitter captured part of a confrontation between Proud Boys and Defend North East Los Angeles.

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On Saturday night, a group of Proud Boys — self-described "western chauvinists" from a fraternal order of men who "refuse to apologize for creating the modern world" — gathered at The Griffin, a bar on Los Feliz Boulevard in Atwater Village.

The Proud Boys are classified as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center and the organization has openly threatened to assault opponents and celebrated violent clashes with groups like Antifa. Only men can join Proud Boys (there's a separate group for women). On their official website, the group says it is "anti-SJW (social justice warrior) without being alt-right," and that its membership does not discriminate based on race, religion, or sexual preference.

Members of activist groups including the Democratic Socialists of America's L.A. chapter and Defend North East Los Angeles came to the bar and alerted management about the Proud Boys' background. It’s still unclear how the incident started, each side says the other instigated.

In an Instagram post after the incident, the owners of The Griffin, who were not at the bar when the argument started, said they took responsibility for the way things were handled and that it was on them to have a policy in place to handle situations like that, especially in the owners’ absence. They said they were unaware that members of the Proud Boys would be meeting there and that by the time they knew, several members were already inside and that they felt it was better to employ a tactic they’ve used with troublemakers in the past — “kill them with kindness and they’ll get bored and go away.” A second social media post said the bar would post “No Tolerance” signs and turn away anyone affiliated with a hate group who tried to get in.

But how easy will that be to enforce, both practically and on a legal level? Do you think the business deserves to be boycotted? If you were in the position of the bar’s owners, how might you have handled the situation differently. If you own a bar or restaurant and have had to deal with tensions between ideologically-opposed groups, how have you handled the situation? What about as a patron, how would you have reacted?

With files from LAist. Read the full piece here.

We reached out to The Griffin for comment but as of the airing of this segment, they have not responded to our request.


Eugene Volokh, professor of law at UCLA and founder and co-author of the legal blog The Volokh Conspiracy