Paris Cafe vandalized after being called out on Facebook
An Anchorage restaurant accused of racism in a Facebook post is trying to pick up the pieces after it was burglarized Sunday evening.
Paris Cafe and Bakery, which moved to its new location downtown a few months ago, is working on cleaning up an estimated $10,000 in damage.
"They just poured bleach everywhere, it still smells like bleach," said Michael Patterson, a waiter at the cafe.
"When I came in here this morning all of this was thrown everywhere, they robbed us they broke into the office back here they took the cash register back here."
Patterson's family runs the cafe. He says a miscommunication over the weekend has cost him and his family money and their reputation.
"It was being put on Facebook that we were being discriminatory against Alaska natives and I guess it spread," said Patterson. "Almost immediately the same day within an hour or so we got nonstop calls of people telling us we are racist discriminatory that we are going to boycott your restaurant."
He says a woman tried to purchase meals for two people who appeared to be homeless.
The hostess said they could not eat the meals at the restaurant, but instead had to take them to go.
Patterson says that decision came after dealing with a negative situation earlier in the day.
"That day, two hours before that, we had a deal with an individual off the street who started eating food off plates and when she was asked to leave she started throwing food at the waiter and customers. We're trying to create an environment where people want to eat," said Patterson.
The restaurant is now dealing with over $10,000 in damage and the possibility of being closed for weeks.
"This was a miscommunication that could have been easily talked about it then blows up over a period of time on Facebook and now you have a violent act," said Patterson.
Patterson says this could have been worse. He and his brother open the cafe every day and the cut gas line could have seriously injured them.
"I'm an Iraq war vet and my brother is an Afghan war vet that we can survive deployments and then we go to open the door to our work and a spark ignited and we could have been injured or killed because a miscommunication led to an escalation through Facebook, and then people took it upon themselves to commit an act of violence is stupid," Patterson.
Patterson says the issue hits home for him.
"My son is Alaska Native and if anyone treated my son like this my mom and my family we would be the first people to stand up and say something. So to be called racist almost on a daily basis you know for a variety of reasons because people don't like service it hurts."
Even though the damage is done, with each sweep Patterson hopes more people will have a healthy conversation that can lead into positive change.
KTVA reached out to some of the people who made and shared those posts on Facebook, accusing the Paris Cafe and Bakery of racism, but haven't heard back.
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