Bar Owner Responds To Allegations Of Women Being Roofied At Silver Lake's Tenants Of The Trees
Allegations that patrons have been roofied at popular Silver Lake bar Tenants of the Trees have reached a fever pitch in recent weeks, spurred by a tweet from comedian Kate Berlant.
ATTN WOMEN OF LA: I know of at least 7 women who have been roofied at Tenants of the Trees in Silverlake. BE VIGILANT.— Kate Berlant (@kateberlant) June 7, 2016
Tenants of the Trees replaced gay bar/neighborhood institution MJ's last August and almost immediately became one of the hipper spots in town (per Vogue: If you can get in, you’re likely to bump into models visiting from New York, members of Judd Apatow’s lad-flick clique, and music-industry luminaries...).
After Berlant's tweet, more speculation about women being drugged at Tenants of the Trees circulated on social media, but no one has yet publicly come forward to say they were victimized, and LAPD's Northeast Division told LAist that they didn't know of any drug-related complaints involving the bar.
Tenants of the Trees co-owner Reza Fahim told LAist that he and co-owner Jason Lev took the allegations "very seriously," and said that "regardless of whether the allegations that have been made are true or not, this is activity that we take extremely seriously and believe strongly that it cannot be tolerated."
The Los Feliz Ledger, who originally reported the story, spoke to a former Tenants of the Trees employee who called the incidents "a trend," saying that "It doesn’t just happen once in a while.” According to the Ledger, the former employee quit after a friend was drugged while visiting her at work. The former employee told the Ledger that she "told security and management. I pointed out the guy. And they just let him come back whenever."
Fahim pushed back in regard to the former employee's allegations, saying that "she definitely never complained about anything and she definitely did not quit." Fahim said that bar management believe she made the allegations in an effort to retaliate against the bar after being fired. He also noted that the former employee often hung out at the bar on her days off up until the week she was fired, which would run counter to her complaints about the environment.
Ana Calderon, a prominent L.A. DJ who hosts one of the most popular nights at Tenants of the Trees, expressed shock over the incidents. "I take that type of offense extremely seriously," Calderon said. "It makes me super angry that women are often subjected to that criminal act all around the world when they are just out trying to have fun."
"This is one of the first clubs I've ever worked at that happily removed people for crossing personal space boundaries or making women uncomfortable," Calderon told LAist. "Back when I hosted/DJ-ed more in Hollywood, it was like a three strikes rule before any action was taken and it used to make me so mad... But at Tenants it's just not tolerated. I like that I can go up to a bouncer and be like, 'that guy made my friend feel weird, can you please help?' and next thing you know that person is ejected."
Fahim also told LAist that after learning of the allegations he and Lev met with staff to make them more aware of the possible problem, and took a number of steps, which Fahim detailed in an email to LAist:
We have instructed our staff to immediately remove all unattended drinks, and we have reached out to our patrons and those in the online community who are discussing this matter in an effort to create awareness and learn more about each incident so that we can try our best to investigate (by reviewing video tape if possible) or otherwise try and determine if we can figure out what happened or who is responsible. This is not easy under the best of circumstances and is even harder when we only become aware of an incident far after it occurred.
If you have information about the alleged incidents at Tenants of the Trees, we'd like to hear your story. Please reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.