Outspoken Toronto restaurateur calls out cops for letting anti-vaxxers harass her
A Toronto restaurateur known for her outspoken views is frustrated with police inactivity to quell sustained and increasingly volatile protests directed at her establishment.
Jen Agg’s Bar Vendetta on Dundas West has been the target of harassment ever since she took a stance advocating for vaccine passports, attracting sidewalk protests that have been growing uglier in recent weeks.
Despite this apparent outrage from protesters, Bar Vendetta is not actually requesting vaccination certification from patrons, though the establishment is currently limited to outdoor dining.
And the hilarious thing? We are NOT EVEN REQUESTING VACCINE CERTIFICATION!!!! (Which is the crux of their complaint) We aren’t doing indoor dining! Just trying to operate our business safely and protect our staff/guests. U can be anti vax OR pro business BUT YOU CANT BE BOTH!— Jen Agg (@TheBlackHoof) August 22, 2021
This outdoor-only dining experience now feels like the front line of a political showdown, making it very difficult for patrons to enjoy their visit and frustrating staff who have waited long for a return to regular employment.
The situation has deteriorated sharply in the less than two weeks since blogTO last checked up on the protests, a tense atmosphere now deemed volatile enough to necessitate the presence of the Toronto Police over the weekend.
For weeks now, we have been targeted by loud, misguided, hugely invasive anti-vaxxers at Hoofland on Saturday nights. I am in ~shock~ that @JohnTory & @fordnation are leaving us to deal w/ this—ZERO help from cops, by-laws or…anything at all. An abandonment of leadership. pic.twitter.com/8hlv4FxaYo— Jen Agg (@TheBlackHoof) August 22, 2021
Signs with slogans like “arrest Trudeau” and chants of “no vaccine passports” have become the dominant sights and sounds on this patio, not exactly conducive to a pleasant evening out on the town.
This is NOT a peaceful protest, despite the cops insisting it is. Restaurants have been thru ENOUGH! They are disruptive to my neighbours, scream at our wonderful, supportive guests & staff & chant my name while yelling I’m a ‘nazi, racist piece of shit queen bigot’ for hours. 👸🏻 pic.twitter.com/PFZ4vVo6aF— Jen Agg (@TheBlackHoof) August 22, 2021
Weeks into the ordeal, Agg’s tweets from this past weekend capture her justifiable frustration at the City and police’s inability to stop the ongoing disturbance.
I have talked to @JohnTory ‘s office about this repeatedly, and have invited them to come see what we have to deal with as a direct result of their inaction. So far, nothing. It is shameful to leave small businesses hanging out to dry after the worst 17 months of our existence.— Jen Agg (@TheBlackHoof) August 22, 2021
Agg’s progressive stances on things like the pandemic and the celebration of Canada Day in 2021 have made her a target of the far-right, who have chosen mass inoculations, masks and a misguided take on human rights as their latest hill to die on.
Agg claims in tweets that the police have had too passive of a response to the situation, which was considered “peaceful” by officers on the scene, while the police union’s own unwillingness to support mandatory vaccination for its members raises questions about where cops stand on the issue.
Others question the police response, comparing it to the iron-fist approach police took to clearing homeless encampments in the city this summer.
lmao the cops just standing there… where is the energy they had for protestors at encampments 🤔🤔🤔— lindsay (@lindsayj69) August 22, 2021
Agg’s argument that the protests go beyond peaceful assembly has grounds, with Section 2(c) of The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms guaranteeing the right to peaceful assembly but making clear that it does not protect riots and gatherings that seriously disturb the peace.
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