Kato Mele was forced to close her coffee shop in Lynn, Massachusetts, this week after comments her daughter made online about police angered customers.
Mele’s 23-year-old daughter, Sophie, who was the manager of the cafe, posted on her personal Facebook page that they would never host a “Coffee with a Cop” event, saying police were “racist bullies” and other pejoratives.
Mele, who did not agree with the post, asked her daughter to take it down, which she did, then fired her as the coffee shop’s manager.
She also reached out to the local police department.
“The White Rose Coffee House publicly acknowledges and apologizes to all Law Enforcement agencies and specifically the Lynn Massachusetts Police Department for the reprehensible affront, distasteful, biased and hateful remarks made by the manager of the White Rose on a personal Facebook page,” Mele wrote in an op-ed in the local paper, the Daily Item.
She invited them in for coffee on Monday, Oct. 16.
“The White Rose Coffee House realizes that we have a long road to hoe to ingratiate and demonstrate our true appreciation for law enforcement and all first responders,” she wrote.
Despite Mele’s best efforts, her daughter’s post spread, and even though Sophie later wrote an apology, it was too late. Someone posted pictures of Sophie’s Facebook comments on the shop’s Yelp page and reviewers started giving it low reviews.
As of Sunday, Oct. 22, Yelp had a sign on the page that read:
“This business recently made waves in the news, which often means that people come to this page to post their views on the news.
“While we don’t take a stand one way or the other when it comes to these news events, we do work to remove both positive and negative posts that appear to be motivated more by the news coverage itself than the reviewer’s personal consumer experience with the business.
“As a result, your posts to this page may be removed as part of our cleanup process.”
Locals also started to boycott the coffee shop.
Mele said she not only lost her customers, but suffered abuse online. She said her daughter received death threats because of her comments, and both shuttered their social media accounts. Mele also closed those of the coffee shop.
“I’ve lost my business and I’ve lost my daughter … I don’t know how this story just keeps building, but I need people to leave me alone,” said Mele told the Daily Item. “I’m closing my business so I can stop being harassed.”