The same group that spread “the COVID agenda is Jewish” flyers across the Bay Area is linked to a popular Berkeley yoga instructor, and her Jewish boss had to fire her amidst a growing public relations mess.
It is well-established that there is a strong Covidiot element in the yoga community, and that the woo-woo spiritual set has a disproportionate percentage of anti-vaxxers among them. And now we learn this is connected to the spate of anti-Semitic flyers that have popped up across the Bay Area in the last month or so, flyers that claim “Every single aspect of the COVID agenda is Jewish.” So it is not totally unexpected, but disappointing still, that the Jewish News of Northern California broke story this weekend that a prominent Berkeley yoga instructor’s boyfriend is the co-founder of the group behind those flyers, and she has been fired from her instructor positions at Hella Yoga Berkeley and Yoga Hell Petaluma.
She had apparently been using company computers to help him run an anti-Semitic website, and very uncomfortably, the owner of these yoga studios is himself Jewish.
The yoga instructor Kelly Johnson “is no longer associated with Yoga Hell Petaluma or Hella Yoga Berkeley,” according to an email the studios sent out to their customers last week. “We were devastated to find out that someone so close to us could be so far from our values.”
The studios’ owner Jeff Renfro, who also owns Funky Door Yoga in Berkeley, says he was pretty mortified to find that Johnson’s boyfriend was a leader of the group that distributed the flyers, and also established an anti-Semitic video streaming site called Goyim TV. “I told her I’m Jewish, I explained to her that my mother was Jewish,” Renfro told the Jewish News. “This is something that is not OK, no matter how good of friends we are. This overrides our friendship.”
A few days later, the Chronicle reached the yoga instructor herself for comment, and received fairly vague denials. “I am really hurt that they have gone this far to lie about me and say these things about me that are untrue,” Johnson told the Chronicle. “I am a very loving person and have relationships and friendships with all kinds of people. It’s really hard to read this. It’s all lies.”
That said, SFGate reports the studio owner Renfro says he found materials on Johnson’s computer that she had helped register Goyim TV as a California LLC, and that she had been kind of going off the deep end in recent months, once complaining about “sitting next to two smelly Jews on an airplane.”
“Kelly started to withdraw more from us, just emotionally just not communicating with us very well,” Renfro told SFGate. “It just seemed like she was stuck in a world that wasn't our world.”
The Jewish News of Northern California has been reporting doggedly on Goyim TV, and the boyfriend in question Jon Minadeo Jr. who co-founded the organization, since the flyers started popping up. They have a very useful map of where the anti-Semitic flyers have been placed across the Bay Area, and adds that their efforts have been national.
“Minadeo and the group he leads, the Goyim Defense League, have also engaged in attention-grabbing propaganda displays, such as hanging a banner that said ‘Vax the Jews’ on a highway overpass in Austin, Texas, in October, and touring around Florida in a white van in May of 2021 plastered with swastikas and statements like ‘Jews are sodomites,’” the site reports.
The Chronicle also reached Minadeo himself for comment, and he gave a masterpiece of not-self-aware contradiction. “Goyim TV is about uniting all races against the Jewish supremacy,” Minadeo unapologetically told the Chron.
Image: Hella Yoga