A Brooklyn coffee shop owner who called Jews “greedy infiltrators” on Instagram says he was just saying what other people in his neighbourhood were thinking.
Business Insider went to the Bushwick Coffee Shop and spoke with Michael Avila about his recent comments.
Avila said his Instagram post was in response to landlords who want to evict residents in the up-and-coming neighbourhood in order to build luxury condos.
“Hispanics will complain but not publicly,” Avila said. “Things should be fair, and the post was intended to nudge people into an awakening … you have to be progressive and go to community boards in order for change to happen.”
Since his comments yesterday, Avila has prompted outrage from people online. He noted that “most of the people complaining are Jewish.”
He said that his comments were “misconstrued,” and that he was simply trying to help his community.
“We all stick together, that is the only way for there to be progress,” he said.
Avila stressed that he has no prejudice against Jewish people.
“I apologise to anyone’s feelings I’ve hurt,” he said. “Race has nothing to do with it — if I were a racist I wouldn’t be able to create the community I want in my shop.”
Here’s Avila’s original Instagram post.
The caption reads:
“Ok, what I REALLY want to talk about is how to consider the Jews (oh yes, let’s talk about it) who want a piece or all of Bushwick. My stubborn Bushwick-original neighbour is a hoarder and a mess- true.. and he’s refused selling his building for lots and lots of money. His building and treatment of it makes the hood look much less attractive and I would like him to either clean up or move along. BUT NOT be bought out by Jews however, who in this case (and many cases separate- SORRY!) function via greed and dominance. A laymen’s terms version of a story would simply be- buying buildings, cutting apartments in half, calling them luxurious, and ricing them at double. Bushwick IS rising and progressing, and bettering, but us contributing or just appreciating this rise and over all positive change do not want to be lumped with greedy infiltrators. Two jewish young men with generally rude behaviour (one more than the other) ordered coffee, and explained how they were looking for this neighbour of mine. I knew what was up and asked where are they visiting from. When asked where I’m from I firmly and confidently said “HERE. This is my neighbourhood, it’s where I come from.” They began to lighten up and almost kiss as a bit. I openly said “looking to buy the building?” They said yes and I explained how this man has been asked to sell for large amounts of money many times- which is true. So I said “Good luck with that. But if you’re going to come here ya gotta be nice”. If you know me you’ll know what my eyes looked like. You know!- when they have the look of death within them. They one guy smiled. And they both knew where I stood. The one who had a slightly more aggressive behaviour let that go fast after our initial meeting n which they experienced my confidence… and then at the end gave me his card and asked if I’d contact him when I see my neighbour. He said.. and I quote “I’ll treat you right” Whatever exactly that meant. But I did say if you come here you have to be good. We’ll see what happens from here. “
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