Top Dog, a Berkeley-based hot dog chain whose owner has always promoted Libertarian views, has fired an employee who was identified on social media as one of the attendees of a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville over the weekend. As Berkeleyside reports, Cole White was immediately fired from the restaurant where he worked, and in response to a flood of phone calls and Yelp postings, the ownership posted a sign on the door of their Durant Avenue location saying "Effective Saturday, August 12, Cole White no longer works at top dog. The actions of those in Charlottesville are not supported by top dog. We believe in individual freedom and voluntary association for everyone."
Update: Amid threats from the alt-right and potential legal issues, Top Dog has clarified that
On Saturday, the Twitter account @YesYoureRacist went about doxxing (exposing) a number of young men who were pictured in attendance at the white nationalist torch-lit rally Friday night in Charlottesville. The account appears to have successfully identified at least ten men, starting with White, though some of them have tried to deny that they are the ones pictured at the rally.
The Chronicle confirmed that White was a cook at Top Dog, but could not confirm with White whether he was actually in Charlottesville, though the firing would appear to be a tacit confirmation of that fact.
White had previously appeared on a poster of Bay Area alt-right activists who were part of a demonstration in Oakland in May, outside a court arraignment of an antifa protester who was charged with assault. (The Chronicle says he was also identified as having attended a hearing for Nathan Damigo, a white nationalist who was seen punching a female counter-protester at an April riot in Berkeley in a video that went nationally viral.)
Cole White, from California -- allegedly works at Top Dog restaurant in Berkeley pic.twitter.com/gxPvwQtAPw— Yes, You're Racist (@YesYoureRacist) August 12, 2017
Cole was part of the violent protests in Oakland back in May pic.twitter.com/yQQkTqXUMl— Yes, You're Racist (@YesYoureRacist) August 12, 2017
Sign on the door of Top Dog on Durant Ave confirms Cole White is no longer employed by the chain pic.twitter.com/ROwAed2NOl— Harini Shyamsundar (@hshyamsundar) August 13, 2017
UC Berkeley student Ansel Deng tells ABC 7, "I feel that it's good that Top Dog is taking a stand against this kind of stuff."
Top Dog, which has three locations in Berkeley and Oakland, was founded in 1966 by Richard Reimann, who is now 83, and who has always promoted libertarian thought via posters in the restaurant and on the company's website. (He and the restaurant were profiled by SF Weekly back in 1996.) Posters under the auspices of the "Ludwig von Mises Institute" have responded to the incidents in Charlottesville on the "Propergander" section of the restaurant's website, including a lengthy essay this morning on "World War I and the Triumph of Illiberal Ideology" that contains the phrase, "Aggressive nationalism is the necessary derivative of the policies of interventionism and national planning." There is also a direct response to the Charlottesville violence that calls it "as predictable as it was futile." The essay goes on to condemn the politicization of the events by Democrats and Republicans saying, "Theirs is a turf battle, nothing more. In a winner takes all political world, elections are weapons. Unless and until we learn to reject politics as the overarching method for organizing society, hatred and fear of 'the other' will remain pervasive."