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.
Sign on the door of Top Dog on Durant Ave confirms Cole White is no longer employed by the chain pic.twitter.com/ROwAed2NOl
— Harini Shyamsundar (@hshyamsundar) August 13, 2017
“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.
— Rigel Robinson (@RigelRobinson) August 13, 2017
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].