Last week’s news that five women accused Seattle restaurateur Dave Meinert of rape and sexual misconduct unleashed a wave of backlash. Meinert’s restaurant business partners, musicians signed to his management company, and even politicians he’s supported are distancing themselves from him.
Queer/Bar owner Joey Burgess told Capitol Hill Seattle that while Meinert was an investor in the Capitol Hill business, Meinert was never involved day to day, and has now been cut out entirely, making Burgess and his husband, Murf Hall, sole proprietors.
Meinert also co-owns Capitol Hill businesses Lost Lake Cafe and Comet Tavern with Jason Lajeunesse, and Grim’s with both Lajeunesse and Burgess. Lajeunesse said Meinert is no longer involved in the daily operations of these businesses, but said he couldn’t comment on ownership status, which suggests Meinert still co-owns those restaurants. Eater hasn’t been able to reach Lajeunesse for comment. Meinert is also sole owner of Belltown’s 5 Point Cafe, where he remains active.
The fallout reaches beyond Seattle’s restaurant and nightlife scene. Several elected officials, including Governor Jay Inslee and King County Executive Dow Constantine, announced they are donating campaign contributions they’ve received from Meinert.
Musicians signed to Meinert’s Onto Entertainment management company are also taking their business elsewhere. The band Hey Marseilles tweeted, “Regarding the allegations against David Meinert, one of the owners of our management company Onto Entertainment: We hear these women. We believe these women. We’re sickened by his behavior.” Hey Marseilles concluded that its path forward “will not include Dave Meinert.” The band the Lumineers has also left Onto Entertainment.
Throughout last weekend’s Capitol Hill Block Party music festival, artists asked fans not to patronize Meinert’s businesses. Meinert helped launch the festival, but current owner Jason Lajeunesse said he purchased the festival from Meinert and co-founder Marcus Charles in 2011 and Meinert hasn’t been involved since.
Because high profile allies like politicians and famous bands are severing ties with Meinert one would think it’s only a matter of time before the rest of his restaurant partners follow suit. Such backlash has befallen restaurateurs and chefs accused of such bad behavior elsewhere: John Besh in New Orleans, Charlie Hallowell in San Francisco, and Ken Friedman in New York.
- Five Women Accuse 5 Point Cafe Owner of Rape and Sexual Misconduct [ESEA]
- The Pike/Pine Fallout From Meinert Rape Accusations [CHS]
- Fallout Continues After Accusations Against Seattle Nightlife Entrepreneur David Meinert [Seattle Times]
- Hey Marseilles [Twitter]
- Five Women Accuse Seattle’s David Meinert of Sexual Misconduct, Including Rape [KUOW]
- The 5 Point Cafe [Official]
- All Coverage of the 5 Point Cafe [ESEA]