On Wednesday, Sprudge reported on the now-infamous firing of two Joe Van Gogh baristas from the cafe’s Duke University location after VP of Student Affairs Larry Moneta took umbrage with the song playing while he was waiting in line for his hot tea and vegan muffin. As we noted previously, the song in question, “Get Paid” by rapper Young Dolph, is not light on the curses and is the sort of song to have the pearl clutching crowd do what they do best. In the past five days, this story has continued to develop, so we are taking a look back at what has transpired since then.
Duke President Apologizes
Duke President Vincent Price has had a turbulent first 11 months as the university head. As the Duke Chronicle notes, Price has had to deal with multiple “racially charged incidents,” and now, he has had to apologize for the actions of one of his Vice Presidents.
In an email sent to all current Duke students, Price stated:
I am, in particular, sorry that the words of one of my senior administrators recently resulted in two individuals working for one of our on-campus vendors losing their jobs; and while I am pleased that the vendor has taken steps to reverse this action, I apologize for the precipitous and unfair treatment these employees experienced. We must do better.
Price also notes that he won’t take any quick action that “demands instant retribution absent context and deliberation” on how to handle this incident. In short, this means that despite student protests calling for his firing, Moneta still has his job. And unlike some (looking at you, Moneta), I’m not looking to get anyone fired, even when they are the VP of Student Affairs and seem to lack the capacity for empathy. But I can’t help but note that were Moneta fired over it, well that would be a pretty hot cup of tea.
Joe Van Gogh Cuts Ties With Duke
On Friday, Joe Van Gogh owner Robbie Roberts issued a statement announcing that effective immediately, the company would be severing ties with Duke University in order to “preserve Joe Van Gogh’s brand independence without conditions.” Because of the closing, JVG will be offering jobs to all the displaced staff—including Britni Brown and Kevin Simmons, the two baristas fired in the incidient—at other off-campus locations or at the production facility.
During the past several days, I have reflected on our core values and what I want to embrace and advocate as a small business owner. Joe Van Gogh has always been about bringing people together, not driving them apart. We are open to all people and we value people over our profits. We always have. For years, we have nurtured these values to the communities we serve, specifically through the strengths and talents of our staff of baristas.
The full statement can be found here.
Britni Brown and Kevin Simmons “Get Paid”
It’s not all kinda-good-but-mostly-not news though thanks to Young Dolph, who turns out is the hero of this story. When the rapper heard about the baristas who were fired for playing his music, he not only flew them out to Miami to attend the Rolling Loud music festival but also brought Brown and Simmons on stage during his performance to give them $20,000. It is a very cool gesture by Young Dolph, one that sent the thousands of music festival attendees into a frenzy.
Funny how the stand up person with a moral center in this story is the one using “inappropriate language” and not, you know, those nominally tasked with bettering the next generation through academia.
*top image via The News & Observer