A Kelowna brewery says it is under attack from hate groups and has had to take down its Facebook page and has reported the actions to the RCMP due to intense cyber-bullying from people connected to alt-right militia groups.
Boundary Brewing owner Oliver Glaser said he posted a video online of him and a co-worker putting up a flag in his brewery that he felt stood against the growth of hatred in the world these days.
“I wanted to make a stand and say this is what we believe and we think it’s not cool what’s going on in the world with this resurgence in fascism and racism that is growing,” said Glaser in an interview with the Capital News. “My point of putting the flag up was we support love and tolerance and intolerance will not be tolerated in our brewery.”
The video stayed online for a month with not much reaction, until it was shared by an Okanagan member of an anti-government group called the Three Percenters, said Glaser. And after that it went viral, being shared 80 times, reaching 7,500 views and 15,000 hits to the Facebook page in short order. Hate-filled messages filled the company’s Facebook page.
“I’ll be riding through Kelowna with some heavys (sic) next spring we will grab a couple cases of Kokanee gold and stop by if you’re still in business then cause some shit there,” read one message.
“Supporters of domestic tourism, you people should be ashamed to call yourselves Canadians,” read another of the more tame comments.
“It was vile stuff they were writing and the pictures they were posting…it was just heinous stuff,” said Glaser.
The flag that Glaser used in the video featured an Antifa logo and that’s what the hate groups focussed on. Antifa is a group that represents anti facism movements and Glaser admitted that Antifa can also be militant in its opposition to fascism. He has taken the flag down and says it wasn’t about Antifa but more a statement against hatred.
“I put the flag up as a sort of my quiet protest,” he said, noting he stands by his protest but is also fearful for his two young children and his family. “There’s a lot of scary things about this, just because I posted my politics, what I believe. It was latched upon and maybe misunderstood by these guys but they are extremists. We look at this stuff and we think it’s an American problem but it’s happening here too.”
Once Glaser took down his company Facebook page, his Google business page was also attacked, where dozens upon dozens of one-star reviews were posted. He also received phone calls from all over the states due to the fact his business phone is also his personal phone and the number is public.
But on the other side, he also received a lot of support from what he called the silent majority, also standing against hate.
“I was emboldened by all the positive support and love I got and the people that defended human rights and tolerance and love,” he said. “I had hundreds of Facebook friends and craft brewers and people I know in the industry supporting me.”
While Glaser has removed the flag, he plans to put up a manifesto in his brewery that states that he supports love and tolerance and hatred has no place in the world.
“This huge group of people were trying to find a way to get everyone to hate our brewery, but we’ve had a pretty successful Wednesday and I think part of that came from people that saw what was going on online,” said Glaser.
Boundary Brewing has been open in Kelowna since January.
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