Man resigns from Top Dog after seen at Charlottesville protests

Audrey McNamara/Senior Staff

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A man resigned from his position at Top Dog after he was identified as an attendee at the white supremacy protests in Charlottesville, Virginia, this weekend.

A Twitter account named @YesYoureRacist tweeted photos of people at the white supremacy protests in an attempt to identify certain individuals. Cole White, the former Top Dog employee, was among those identified.

At the Durant Avenue location of Top Dog, the business posted a flier in the window that announced that as of Saturday, White was no longer employed by Top Dog.

“The actions of those in Charlottesville are not supported by top dog,” Top Dog said in the flier. “We believe in individual freedom, and voluntary association for everyone.”

Although some media outlets have reported that White was fired, Top Dog denied these allegations in an emailed press release. In the release, Top Dog said it became aware of White’s involvement with the rally in Charlottesville on Saturday and spoke with him later that day. During their conversation, White “chose to voluntarily resign,” and Top Dog accepted his resignation, according to the release.

Rising campus junior Sooren Moosavy saw a picture of Top Dog’s flyer on Facebook, and re-posted it on the Overheard at UC Berkeley Facebook page to share it with the student community. He said he wasn’t really shocked that someone with a Berkeley tie attended the Charlottesville protests.

“I think a lot of people have the misconception, especially in liberal hotspots — they have the idea that these types of views are only … found in places like the Deep South or the Midwest, and they all really underestimate how prevalent this actually is,” Moosavy said.

Moosavy said he didn’t think Top Dog’s management should be held accountable, because there’s no evidence that it was aware of White’s involvement with white supremacy. Some community members have accused Top Dog of supporting White’s role in the Charlottesville protests. Moosavy said these accusations likely stem from Top Dog’s reputation for prominently displaying libertarian and right-wing ideologies through posters and essays both inside their store and on their website.

In the release, Top Dog denied the allegations that it “knowingly employs racists and promotes racist theology.” Top Dog emphasized in its release that since 1966, it has served hot dogs to both Oakland and Berkeley “at an affordable price to everyone who walks through our doors,” adding that it respects and embraces people’s different opinions.

“We do respect our employees’ right to their opinions. They are free to make their own choices but must accept the responsibilities of those choices,” Top Dog said in the release. “Individual freedom and voluntary exchange are core to the philosophy of top dog. We look forward to cooking the same great food for at least another 50 years.”

Contact Chantelle Lee and Harini Shyamsundar at [email protected].

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  • Nunya Beeswax

    As a past participle, “seen” usually requires a copulative verb.

  • guest

    I believe he resigned so I’m not sure why everyone is talking about ‘fired’. Seriously can I just get a Top and a hot please?

  • jim hoch

    Hot dogs are pretty poisonous so it’s a good job for someone who hates people.

  • mancityRed6

    umm, he didn’t resign. he got fired.

  • Joshua Hudgins

    So when these people get fired and decide to start killing people in retaliation will doxing them still be worth it?

  • Al1005

    This is meant to be a warning to others. Do something the left disagrees with, and lose your job.

    Then again, how does someone who works at a food cart afford to go to a political event across the country?

    And, a ‘white supremacist’ from, of all places, Berkeley, CA? (How he could even afford to live there?) The hot dog stand must pay their cooks one Helluva salary. As in all things political, follow the money.

    Most likely a lefty plant. Walk around and yell vile things, then run away when one of your own attacks you.

    I suspect as the weeks go by, we will come to find out that various people were paid, on both sides, to appear and cause dramatics. In the end, you might call the whole day at Charlottesville ‘fake’.

    Mission accomplished – on so many fronts.

    • AlanSmithee

      What a ridiculously stupid comment – on so many fronts.

    • mancityRed6

      Alex Jones already called the “false flag”

  • gregzotta

    The powers that be at Top Dog fired one of its employees for participating in a protest of the removal of Confederate monuments. However they further state, “We believe in individual freedom and voluntary association for everyone.” So if that’s true why did they fire the employee? The leftist DemonRATS are pushing for a civil war. The media keeps calling the group that was protesting the removal of Confederate monuments white Supremacists and white Nationalists in a pejorative manner. They are not calling the unAmerican antifa fascist/anarchists by their true name and ideology, instead calling them anti- white Supremacists and anti- white Nationalists protesters. There are people saying Democrats and Republicans denounce the violence, which is a LIE. During the campaign Killary Clinton had paid goons throughout the country attacking Trump supporters. DemonRATS are despicable anti-Americans. The police did nothing to stop the violence and were most likely told to stand down, especially since the Clinton’s bag man Terry McAuliffe is the governor. Then the anarchists took to the streets chanting whose streets, our streets. They were blocking the streets and sidewalks preventing people to freely move about their business and were a violent mob and the police needed to start arresting the mob. Any criminal behavior should have been dealt with immediately and the perpetrators arrested and taken away. But they were not. Then some driver drove into the crowd killing one woman and injuring several others. That driver has since been arrested. However, the police chief claimed the woman was walking across the street when she was struck, which is wrong. She was in the street with many other anarchists blocking the roadway. This animosity amongst the people is a carryover from the racist Obama Regime and the push by DemonRATS to remove anything to do with the Confederacy, which is something ISIS and the Nazis did.

  • George Kafantaris

    Top Dog had a business decision to make. Keep Cole White working there and lose a lot of its business or fire Cole White and lose just some of its business.

    • California Defender

      I suppose you could use the same argument to fire any employee based on race, creed, gender, sexual orientation, nationality, etc, so long as it is primarily a “business decision”. However, I doubt that argument would get very much traction in court.

      And why do you claim the eatery will still lose some of its business?

      • Nice police state gulag America has it is the greatest officially and unofficially.

        • California Defender

          Gulags? We’re not there yet, but American leftists sure are hopeful they can emulate the Soviet example here.

          Certainly, the institutionalized prohibition of intellectual curiosity, diversity, and rigor in our schools and mass media is a form of that.

          I suppose they see no need for guard towers and barbed wire when you can create the same effect in everyone’s head.

  • JP

    He won’t need the job after the successful lawsuit for discriminatory firing practices.

    • Ricky Reynolds

      You must not know how this works….no more job for him, no law suit, end of story.

      • Beresford

        Check out section 1102 of the California labor code.

        • Oakley

          Political activity!

    • Takia Williamson

      There will be no lawsuit, just him unemployed!

    • y_p_w

      You don’t seem to understand. Being a white supremacist doesn’t place one in a protected class. California has at-will employment and his employer can fire him for any reason provided that the reason is not based on being in a protected class or for some reason to do with whistleblowing.

      • JP

        LABOR CODE – LAB

        DIVISION 2. EMPLOYMENT REGULATION AND SUPERVISION [200 – 2699.5] ( Division 2 enacted by Stats. 1937, Ch. 90. )

        PART 3. PRIVILEGES AND IMMUNITIES [920 – 1138.5] ( Part 3 enacted by Stats. 1937, Ch. 90. )

        CHAPTER 5. Political Affiliations [1101 – 1106] ( Chapter 5 enacted by Stats. 1937, Ch. 90. )


        No employer shall make, adopt, or enforce any rule, regulation, or policy:

        (a) Forbidding or preventing employees from engaging or participating in politics or from becoming candidates for public office.

        (b) Controlling or directing, or tending to control or direct the political activities or affiliations of employees.

        • y_p_w

          Is he running for political office? Was he supporting someone running for political office? Maybe even voicing public support for a ballot initiative?

          Labor Code section 1101
          Protects employees who engage or participate in politics or who become candidates for public office. An employer may not make, adopt, or enforce any rule, regulation or policy that forbids, controls, directs or tends to direct the political activities or affiliations of employees.

          The owner of Top Dog is a well known libertarian. The statement posted in front of Top Dog stated the owner’s belief in free association. His employee was free to associate with this group and he was free to reject him for it.

          Good luck with the argument that associating with Nazi and Klan members and a hodgepodge of racists is a political activity. I’m sure some attorney is going to take up his case, but the owner of Top Dog can certainly hire one for himself. He might even get someone more than willing to defend him for free.

          • California Defender

            It’s clear the event in Virginia was political as they were protesting the removal of a public memorial statue by the city council.

            Regardless of that, would be ok for a business fire someone for participating in a BLM or Antifa march?

        • Vincent Cook

          Is participation in lethal riots a protected “political activity” under this law? If so, Top Dog LLC would be right to defy such a ridiculous law. It would be better to shut the business down than to be forced by the state to employ violence-prone fanatics.

          • California Defender

            How do you know someone is a “violence-prone fanatic”?

        • AlanSmithee

          Stop posting things you don’t understand.

    • Nunya Beeswax

      The story reports that he resigned.

      • California Defender

        Do you know why? Was he pressured to resign by the eatery? Considering that this is Berkeley, threats of violence coming from various sources outside the eatery may have been the cause as well.

  • BLFJboy

    Read the Top Dog blog for examples of this company’s right-wing thinking:

    • Vincent Cook

      Top Dog’s owner is a libertarian. The basic political principle he argues for is that it is wrong to initiate the use of force against others.

      • AlanSmithee

        I think it’s been very well established that the government can use coercion in many forms. Indeed that’s the entire purpose of it. Libertarianism is nothing but a specious set of ideals whereby people can justify not paying taxes and disavow any societal duties.

        • Vincent Cook

          I’m perfectly fine with undertaking “societal duties” provided that I get to be the final judge about whether or not the benefits I receive by doing so justify the costs I bear, and with a clear understanding that such judgments ought to be informed more by an application of logic to facts than by irrational appeals to authority figures, public opinion, or figments of anyone’s religious imagination.

          There is nothing specious about recognizing that each individual human being is an autonomous moral agent equipped with their own ability to think, feel, and act on their own initiative. If the providers of certain kinds of services refuse to respect the autonomy and rationality of others, then the one thing that is well established is that their position in society is based on fear and trickery, not on their service to others.

          • AlanSmithee

            Doesn’t work that way. For example, I can’t dictate to my insurance company what should and should not be covered for other people, as that defeats the purpose of insurance. Your vote is your say in our system of government, or you can run for office to help shape policy.

            Furthermore if everyone went by ‘does it benefit me directly?’ no one would give a penny. And your ideal of each human being rational and moral is wildly wrong.

    • y_p_w

      They’re libertarian. That’s not right or left wing. Their positions on many issues are that the government should butt out of most peoples’ business. Such positions may be considered right wing or left wing these days.

    • Tom_Richter

      Individual freedom isn’t right wing unless you are a Stalinist. Top Dog is well known for its Libertarian views. I spent many an evening noshing on a dog and reading all the libertarian literature posted all around the stand. Interesting stuff and being Berkeley, you should be exposed to many views, not just those that you agree with. That’s how you learn and grow.

      • Mitchell

        It’s right wing to define “freedom” as purely and solely contingent on what you own. In fact, it’s totalitarian.

        “Voluntary association between an employer and employee means that either side is free to unilaterally withdraw from the employment relationship” — just as the lion is free to make voluntary agreements with the lamb (with a little help from his lawyers).

        • lspanker

          It’s right wing to define “freedom” as purely and solely contingent on what you own. In fact, it’s totalitarian.

          The contorted definitions of the hard left never cease to amuse me…

          • Mitchell

            What could be more contorted than a definiton of “freedom” that justifies plutocracy?

            I’m not a “hard leftist” (not even a leftist at all). I reject all forms of oligarchy and authoritarianism (all concentrations of power), whether they base their claims on Ownership or the State.

            The libertarian promise of freedom is like an offer in a piece of junk mail. Beware the “Terms and Conditions” buried in the fine print!

          • Vincent Cook

            But how is one supposed to reject an authority or become independent of an oligarch if one can’t exclude them from a domain where one exercises one’s own personal autonomy? Ownership is fundamentally a power of exclusion, without that power, you are completely at the mercy of the power and authority of others.

            Oligarchs and authoritarians can and do rig markets and warp property rights to their own advantage, but the lesson there is that you have to struggle against such rigging and warping, not deprive yourself of the one institution that empowers you to freely pursue your own values.

          • Mitchell

            Our views on this may not be all that far apart; the difference (I would suggest) is that I view freedom as inherent in the struggle itself (and inherently precarious), and not as having its repository in ANY institution. Yes, that “deprivation” is scary — as any Buddhist who eschews “attachment” would gladly testify.

            The reason I’m not a slave isn’t (as many libertarians claim) that I “own my body.” I don’t even accept the notion of a mind/body dichotomy, so no “owner” relationship is involved. The reason I’m not a slave is that I’m ultimately free from “ownership” itself.

            The Self is not merely “that which owns.” Institutionalizing Ownership (or property) as the repository of all freedom is a form of totalitarianism unto itself.

          • Nunya Beeswax

            Sure it’s contorted–though “incomplete” is the word I’d prefer to use in this instance. And libertarianism doesn’t define freedom solely in terms of ownership; I’ve never met a libertarian who wasn’t also a civil libertarian. The word for a free-marketer who wants social mores to be enforced by the government is “conservative.”

        • Vincent Cook

          No, totalitarianism is about imposing a single, comprehensive set of values on everyone by force. Possession of three hot dog stands doesn’t make Mr. Riemann a lion, let alone give him the capacity to dictate to others how they must live their lives. What it does give him the capacity to do is to withdraw his support from those who really do have totalitarian intentions, and for that I commend him highly.

          • Mitchell

            The hegemony of “ownership” is about imposing a single, comprehensive set of values.

            Possession of three hot dog stands doesn’t make Mr. Riemann a lion, just an alleycat — but that’s a real enough threat to the local mice (who certainly have the “freedom” to run to the next alley, and deal with the cat that’s there). The problem is that we live in a crowded world, where there’s a cat everywhere that there’s a piece of cheese.

          • Vincent Cook

            Owning yourself and some peacefully-acquired things doesn’t make you a hegemon over others; it merely gives you the power to exclude others from using you and your things without your consent. Such power is of no use to predatory animals of any description, but it can be useful for keeping predators at bay and for refusing cooperation with predators when they go after others.

            Other news organizations (like a story buried in the food section of the _Washington Post_ ) are reporting that Mr. White was outed on Twitter after being photographed at the “Unite the Right” torchlight rally at the Lee statue held by neo-Nazis and Klansmen. That sort of “right-wing” stands in opposition to the principles of individual liberty, and judging from the Swastikas, Odal runes, and Celtic crosses they displayed at the following day’s rally, I’d say their totalitarian ambitions are pretty much out in the open.

          • Mitchell

            You’re evidently right about Mr. White’s motives and affiliations; unfortunately the article in this publication didn’t make that clear.

            The power conferred by ownership most certainly CAN serve the interest of a predator — precisely as it does for our (metaphorical) cat’s interest in owning (but not eating) a piece of cheese.

  • Kurt VanderKoi

    This sounds like BS! How can a person living in Berkeley and working at a hot dog stand afford to travel across country?

    • picha2

      Hitch a ride. Bring a sleeping bag. It’s warm out.

    • lspanker

      Well, do you think the majority of the ANTIFA rent-a-mob members even have jobs? Extremist networks on both sides of the spectrum have their own little support networks where they help out participants with transport, food, and places to squat.

  • Willie Bill

    Good; I’d fire him too. Extinguish hate and bigotry.

  • Jack Spencer

    We believe in individual freedom and voluntary association for everyone except our employees

    • Vincent Cook

      Voluntary association between an employer and employee means that either side is free to unilaterally withdraw from the employment relationship. Given the libertarian principles of Top Dog’s owner, his decision to unvolunteer himself in this particular situation makes a lot of sense.