A lawsuit between the former co-owners of Jolene’s alleges false imprisonment and slander, among other claims
Jolene’s, a bar and restaurant that opened on the corner of 16th Street and Harrison back in 2018, is embroiled in multiple controversies, according to a Bay Area Reporter (BAR) account published Wednesday. Assistant editor John Ferrannini reports that the spot, which has been heralded by publications including Eater as one of the last lesbian-focused bars in the nation, is the focus of a bombshell lawsuit from one of its founding owners, as well as “anonymous allegations of employee mistreatment, manipulation, racism, and cover-ups of alleged sexual assault.”
Three people were named as owners of Jolene’s at its 2018 ribbon-cutting: Jolene Linsangan, Ashleigh Wilson, and Shannon Amitin. These days, only Linsangan remains, with Wilson and Amitin “trying to get their names removed from the liquor license for some time,” the BAR reports. It’s Wilson who filed suit against the bar, Linsangan, Linsangan’s mother, and 10 other people, alleging “nine counts of damages including breach of contract, slander and libel, false light, false imprisonment, and both intentional and negligent infliction of emotional distress.” Linsangan has declined comment on the suit, on the advice of her attorney.
The suit is joined by an anonymous social media campaign against Jolene’s, which — among other claims — alleges that sexual assaults at the bar were “covered up,” that “ trans employees, sex workers, Black and Brown people are tokenized” and that disabled patrons were told “not to show up on busy nights.” When the social media accounts related to the allegations were contacted, the only response was “while we appreciate the opportunity, protecting the identities of those involved is more important.”
Jolene’s has since responded to the allegations with a series of posts on Instagram (found here, here, and here), in which the business apologizes for past issues and announces a public business response, a personal response and an action plan, all of which specifically address the issues raised by the anonymous campaign. More details on the allegations against Jolene’s can be found here.
And in other news...
- Ichiban Kan, the 20-year-old San Francisco shop known for its selection of imported foods and snacks (its Pocky selection was hard to beat) has filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection. Its Japantown flagship announced its permanent closure in March, a few years after its second location, in the Outer Sunset, also closed for good. [SF Business Times]
- Ten of the 181 workers laid off by Philz Coffee say the company pressured them to return to work despite specific health concerns that placed them at risk for coronavirus infection. The company denies the allegations. [Mission Local]
- Two-story FiDi Italian spot Perbacco has been working with a small staff to serve takeout and outdoor diners, but with SF’s indoor dining now on indefinite pause, co-owner Umberto Gibin says he’s shutting everything down for a month or so, in hopes that by Labor Day, diners can come indoors. [Reuters]
- Since 1999, Cafe Madeleine has served cake, sandwiches, and pastries from its Union Street shop. That location closed in recent days, but the cafe’s SoMa and FiDi spots remain. [Hoodline]
- Employees at the Cardenas Markets grocery stores in Oakland, Pittsburg and Hayward have tested positive for COVID-19. [East Bay Times]
- Lala Harrison’s Cajun/Southern popup JusLa Eats is popping up at Palmetto, the Uptown Oakland steakhouse that opened — and then (temporally) closed — during the pandemic. Look for it on Fridays and every other Tuesday. [Berkeleyside]