The Griffin Will Reopen With 'No Tolerance' Signs After Proud Boys Incident in Atwater Village
On Saturday night, a group of Proud Boys — self-described "western chauvinists" from a fraternal order of men who "refuse to apologize for creating the modern world" — gathered at The Griffin, a bar on Los Feliz Boulevard in Atwater Village.
Witnesses say some of the men were wearing black and gold-trimmed polo shirts — the Proud Boys' official uniform — and some had on pro-Trump "MAGA" hats.
The Proud Boys are classified as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center and the organization has openly threatened to assault opponents and celebrated violent clashes with groups like Antifa. Only men can join Proud Boys (there's a separate group for women).
Word spread that members of the group were in the neighborhood. Members of activist groups including the Democratic Socialists of America's L.A. chapter and Defend North East Los Angeles came to the bar and alerted management about the Proud Boys' background.
In an interview Monday with LAist, DSA members Josh Androsky and Madison McCabe said staff at the bar took no action.
Androsky said he told The Griffin's management "something is going to go down if you don't do your job and kick out this hate group."
Not long after, Androsky said a confrontation began between their collective groups and the Proud Boys, which they said was triggered after Proud Boys members started harrassing other bar patrons.
McCabe, who is dating Androsky, said she put her hand on one of the Proud Boys member's chests to keep him away from her boyfriend. The man then pushed McCabe to the floor, according to the couple. What happened next was more of a shoving match than a bar fight, Androsky said.
After the argument turned physical, bar security separated the groups and emptied the bar. Part of the altercation was recorded and video of the incident went locally viral with both The Griffin and the Proud Boys trending on Twitter.
Los Angeles Police Department officers were seen in one of the videos outside the bar as Proud Boy members taunted and argued with protestors off screen.
LAPD officials confirmed officers did respond to the scene but said the groups dispersed on their own and no arrests were made.
On social media, some people called for a boycott of the bar, with many accusing the owners of accommodating members of a hate group.
In a statement posted on Facebook, one of the co-owners of The Griffin apologized for how management handled the situation and said they do not support or condone the group.
"I wasn't there last night, but I was informed that there were proud boys in the bar," one of the unidentified owners wrote. "Ideally that would be stopped at the door, but since they were already inside I advised that we use a tactic that I've used in the past with gang members or people that are obviously in there to cause problems, kill them with kindness and they'll get bored and go away.
"We are generally a pretty mellow and peaceful bar with no real security and I foolishly thought this was the best way to ensure they'd leave without putting my staff in danger."
The apology did little to assuage those outraged about Proud Boys being served by the Griffin. On the bar's Yelp page, for example, one-star ratings and vilification was so intense it triggered a housekeeping notification:
This isn't the first Proud Boys controversy in Los Angeles. In June, they gathered at Highland Park Brewery in Chinatown, causing some patrons to leave and leading to outrage at the brewery's management for allowing them to drink there in the first place.
The Griffin did not open on the evening of July 15 and announced on Facebook it will be posting "No Tolerance" signs at the entrance: "Moving forward ... our staff will screen entering patrons accordingly. No person with any affiliation to any hate group will be allowed on the premises.