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Coffee Shop Owner Who Called Jews 'Greedy' Deletes Social Media Accounts

By Serena Dai | October 6, 2014 4:09pm
 The owner of Bushwick's Coffee Shop posted a screed on Instagram calling Jews "greedy infiltrators."
The owner of Bushwick's Coffee Shop posted a screed on Instagram calling Jews "greedy infiltrators."
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DNAinfo/Serena Dia; Instagram/bushwickcoffeeshop

BUSHWICK — A coffee shop owner who called Jews "greedy infiltrators" in an Instagram post last week has deleted all the store's social media accounts — saying he realized  there were better ways to denounce selfish landlords after speaking with Jewish friends.

Michael Avila, owner of The Coffee Shop at 203 Wilson Ave., wrote a lengthy screed on the shop's Instagram account last Wednesday blasting Jewish people trying to buy up property and saying that they "function via greed and dominance."

After the post went viral Thursday, Avila told DNAinfo New York that he had been "misunderstood" and stood by his post's intention to raise awareness about Bushwick gentrification.

But by Monday, Avila decided to take down his Instagram and Facebook accounts, which people had filled with criticisms of Avila's remarks.

The Bushwick native said his mother's best friend, who he described as Jewish and a "caring, lovely woman," took him out to lunch to discuss his Instagram comments.

After speaking with her and other supportive friends, he realized that he could have used other words that would be "more accurate and effective to my goal," Avila said.

He offered "deep and sincere apologies" to anybody he may have hurt.

"If I could go back in time, out of my love for Bushwick (as it always was) my post would have looked more like the following — 'I believe it is wrong for any persons to buy real estate and then dislocate people from their homes for the purpose of self-service'," Avila said in a statement to DNAinfo New York.

After Avila's post blew up online, his social media accounts were bombarded with critics calling him anti-Semitic, bigoted and "absolutely sickening."

Avila responded with examples of Jews he did like, including Roseanne Barr.

The Anti-Defamation League decried his statements as "disgraceful," and even his coffee mentor, Giovanni Finotto of East Village's I Am Coffee, distanced himself from Avila shortly after.

"I think what he's said is inexcusable and had I known about this point of view we would have never worked together in the past," Finotto said.

Meanwhile, the business itself is still open and "has been running as it always has," Avila said.

"I'm grateful for it," he said.