A 74-year-old man said a woman berated and called him a racist at a California Starbucks on Monday after she spotted him wearing a “Make American Great Again” hat in support of President Trump.
The man, who was identified as Victor, told KTVU he was wearing the iconic red hat when the woman began yelling at him outside the coffee shop in Palo Alto.
“This woman came over and not only started screaming at me, she turned to the Starbucks audience and said, ‘Hey, everybody come here! This guy’s a racist! This guy hates brown people!’” Victor told the news station.
Victor, who is Jewish, also told other news outlets that the woman called him a Nazi.
The woman, who later identified herself as Rebecca Mankey, admitted in a lengthy Facebook post that she yelled at Victor and called for anyone who spotted the 74-year-old wearing the “MAGA” hat to “please confront him.”
“I yelled at him. Called the entire Starbucks to order and yelled at him more about how it’s not okay to hate brown people…I called him more names and told him to call the police…He wouldn’t call the police so I called him a wimp, He got his stuff together to leave. I followed him to the register while he complained about me,” read the post on Mankey’s page, which has since been deactivated. “Then chased him out of Starbucks yelling at him to get the f— out of my town.”
She later wrote in a comment that she was “going to publicly shame him in town and try to get him fired and kicked out of every club he is in.”
Palo Alto police said both parties did not file a report on the incident. Mankey, however, was fired from her job at Gryphon Strings, a guitar sales and repair shop, after the store owner was made aware of the altercation.
“Gryphon does not believe anyone should be harassed or subject to hate speech no matter their beliefs. Music has historically been something that has brought people of diverse socio-political backgrounds together,” the store said in a statement earlier this week. “We would like to make it clear that the opinions expressed and actions taken by the employee are not indicative of how we conduct ourselves at the shop and we hope we can continue to serve our customers across the country respectfully and universally as we have done for nearly 50 years.”
The store’s owner, Richard Johnston, told KTVU that Mankey has worked at the store as an office manager for four years. He said Mankey was fired because of her actions, not due to public backlash.
“We’ve always felt that Gryphon was the equivalent of kind of a musical town square for the community. And we welcome people of all views,” Johnston said.
Victor said those berating people for wearing the red hat have “Trump derangement syndrome.”
“It’s called Trump derangement syndrome: people acting crazy. If you can’t tell the difference between a hat that says ‘Make America Great Again’ and a Nazi helmet or a Ku Klux Klan hat, I’d say you’re deranged,” Victor said.