Former 7 Brew workers claim discrimination, owner denies it

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ROGERS, Ark. (KNWA) — A viral social media post is raising questions about the integrity of a local coffee shop owner.

A post on Twitter contained a screenshot of a lawsuit filed against Seven Brew Coffee owner Ron Crume for harassment.

It says that Crume used offensive terminology for gay and lesbian people during his time on a school board in Oregon.

This sparked multiple people to post their stories of unfair treatment by the coffee shop owner.

But according to him, it’s all untrue.

“I deny any and all allegations. Those were lies and I never said any of it,” he said.

One social media post; that’s all it took for some Northwest Arkansans to become skeptical of the owner of 7 Brew Coffee.

Cecily Monson, a former 7 Brew Coffee worker, said, “We have so many regular customers that I think people deserve to know where that person’s coming from you know?”

Monson posted the Tweet accusing owner Ron Crume of spewing hatred toward the LGBT community after she found an old lawsuit filed against him.

“I just googled his name basically and the first thing that came up was a lawsuit against him in Oregon for him saying similar homophobic slurs and commentary about gay students,” she said.

The lawsuit claimed Crume said implementing a sexual orientation non-discriminatory policy favored gay men, while using derogatory terms.

But, Crume said the case was thrown out.

He said, “I deny any and all allegations in this matter. And that’s the truth.”

But, Monson tells us her manager at 7 Brew heard those derogatory terms being used first hand after Crume moved to the Natural State.

“I was so taken aback by it because it’s so contradictory to what they say they believe within their company,” she said.

Crume agrees that this type of behavior isn’t 7 Brew’s philosophy.

He said, “our whole goal of 7 Brew Coffee from day one has been to change the world with one smile and act of kindness at a time and that’s what we focus on every single day.”

After Monson’s Tweet gained traction, she said more and more employees came forward with complaints.

“There was one response to my Tweet that said that a manager had asked if this applicant was flamboyant or acted gay in fear that the customers would think they’re hiring gay people,” she tells KNWA.

But Crume denies it all. Saying, “It’s sad, it’s a shame, and it’s just not true.”

She goes on to say the reason she posted the tweet was because she feels the LGBT community needs someone to stand up for them.

Monson said, “I just think that in this day and age it’s important that people know everything about what they’re supporting.”

The firm representing Crume tells KNWA he has received no information regarding specific allegations.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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