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San Bernardino apple farm sues school district for pulling student tours for owner’s racially charged tweets

Cajon High School in San Bernardino on Monday afternoon, April 10, 2017.
Cajon High School in San Bernardino on Monday afternoon, April 10, 2017.
Maya Sugarman/KPCC

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For years, Riley Farms in San Bernardino county hosted school tours featuring a colonial era, reenactment-style apple orchard.

That was until tweets from owner James Riley surfaced sparking a public backlash. Riley’s tweets, often of a conservative political nature took a racial tone when he disputed the existence of white supremacy in America saying, “... If there’s a problem in America today it’s BLACK supremacy. Farrakhan, Obama, Lebron James, etc. Typical brain dead feminist.”

Parents and school officials spoke out against the owner’s statements expressing concern for treatment of students of color who attend school tours. The Claremont Unified School district notified Riley Farms they would be discontinuing trips. Riley countered with a lawsuit alleging a violation of his first amendment right to free speech and 14th amendment right to equal treatment.  


Gustavo Arellano, features writer for the Los Angeles Times who wrote about the Riley Farms controversy; tweets at @GustavoArellano

Thomas J. Eastmond, attorney representing James Riley, owner of Riley farms

Barry McDonald, professor of law at Pepperdine University, his focus includes constitutional law and First Amendment law