"The popular Tipsy Gypsy unites ginger, lime, agave syrup, and vodka or gin. In a clever twist on the classic mojito, the Besito finds crushed basil in place of mint with lemon, lime, and organic vodka."
San Diego has a lot of bars and clubs and since 2004, the Kava Lounge has been one of them. In a 2011 San Diego Reader article, the Kava Lounge was hailed for their unique drinks, including one particular drink:
Sounds good, but what about the word "gypsy"? It's a seemingly benign word that has always been around and is generally defined as a wanderer, or someone with a free spirit. If you look it up however, you learn that they are actually a people from Northwest India who have migrated across the world. They got that name from Europeans who saw their dark complexion and assumed they had come from Egypt. Like other minority groups, they have been the victims of hate and bigotry. 70-80% of them were murdered in the Holocaust and today, many of them generally see the word as a racial slur, preferring the name "Ramani".
Not everybody knows all of that though. Since most people connect it with the other stuff, I could see how people would use the word with innocent intentions. I can believe the drink was innocently named. What I can't believe is how one of the Kava Lounge owners, responded to the idea that they may want to change the name of that drink. The following story comes from one of the people involved and they've kept an extensive PDF full of receipts as proof.
We begin with a simple polite message to the Kava Lounge's Facebook, January 4th:
There was no response to that or a follow up message on January 8th, so on the 28th, a negative review was left on the Kava Lounge's Facebook page:
Apparently this 20 word review triggered Kava Lounge co-owner, Mike Bremer, who responded by messaging the people who wrote and liked the review:
The person Bremer messaged that to is a non-binary, trans-person and doesn't identify as a male. Bremer then made it clear that he was part of the Kava Lounge by responding to the review itself, calling the original poster a "Lesbian dad", rather than addressing the issue:
The unprofessionalism escalated as both the Kava Lounge account and Bremer's personal account began telling people to "go F yourself" and to "fuck off", because attacking customers for pointing out an offensive term on your product is how to run a successful business:
This goes on for days and the longer it went, the more people became aware of what was happening. In this message he sent to someone at 2 A.M. on January 30th, Bremer attempts to dispel the idea that he could hold any bigotry, by declaring that he has a black girlfriend.
So instead of addressing the issue of the drink's name, Bremer took the negative review as a personal insult and started hurling actual insults like a 15 year old Call of Duty troll. If an employee of most businesses did this on their official business account, they'd be gone - but this is an owner. I don't think this is a good way to run a business and I'm left questioning why a person like this would co-own such an establishment if they can't maturely handle criticism. All it did was motivate people to become even louder when calling him out on his actions.
Eventually Kava's other co-owner, Scott Bell, got involved and posted their side of the story on Kava's Facebook page, seemingly defending Bremer's actions as an "insult" and not a "slur".
However, Bell then responded to the original contact, apologizing for Bremer's actions and explaining why they didn't initially respond to their messages. This was a good step. Nobody should be bullied or shamed for calling out a business for ignoring complaints. Bell then issued a full apology on Kava's page. Also very good. Later, Kava announced that they would be discontinuing the drink in question.
By February 1st, Bremer posted an anemic statement on his page, full of the same bad spelling, grammar and high school level insults you've come to know from his previous comments. He said he was leaving the Kava Lounge:
Notice that the comments section was full of slurs and threats. Evenually, Bremer begins joking about renaming the drink "lazy lesbian" and "Uptight fag":
This would seemingly be where everybody lived happily ever after - except for Bremer. In one last flaccid attempt to get the upper-hand, he hired a lawyer who is sending people legal notices, threatening to sue them for libel and slander if they don't remove their posts about the Kava Lounge being anti-LGBTQIA.
So first of all, I thought Bremer left the Kava Lounge, so why would this lawyer be representing them both if he supposedly left? Did he lie? Is Bell aware or apart of this at all?
Also, nobody tricked Bremer into saying any of these things. He volunteered it himself after the issue of the drink was politely pointed out. I don't know this guy or his heart, but his actions certainly speak for themselves:
So if Bremer wants to sue the people he attacked because they say he and the Kava Lounge are anti-LGBTQIA, he has to first address why he attacked LGBTQIA people with insults and slurs in his official capacity as co-owner. I'm curious to see how far Mr. Bremer wants to take this. He wants to turn this into a big deal now, when all he had to do was what co-owner Bell did and maturely address the issue of the drink.
Why do we need all that drama in our lives though? San Diego has a lot of bars and clubs that will actually handle your concerns without resorting to calling you names and attempting to sue you. Go to those other places instead. Screw this place.
If you're curious about source, I've provided the PDF for download.
CONTACT AND ARREST
5:27AM - McNeil calls NCPD from the call phone in front of the police station four times
5:29AM - Unit dispatched
5:32AM - Initial contact and search
5:34AM - Takedown and arrest/search continues
5:35AM - Officer calls for WRAP/McNeil held down by approx 4 officers/search continues
5:38AM - WRAP arrives/PD accuse McNeil of spitting
5:40AM - Officer puts knee back of McNeil's neck/accuses him of grinding teeth on ground
5:40AM - Spit mask on, looks like he's trying to take it off, not grind his teeth
5:42AM - McNeil, with mask on begins to say that he can't breathe
5:47AM - McNeil placed in police unit
TIME AT NCPD'S SALLY-PORT
5:49AM - McNeil taken to NCPD sally-port and left in the car for 1hr/17mins *
TRANSPORT TO JAIL
7:04AM - Drive to central jail begins
7:13AM - Unit arrives in jail
TIME AT THE JAIL
7:16AM - Removed from vehicle and placed in gurney
7:17AM - Second spit hood applied
7:18AM - Nurse began evaluation
7:22AM - Nurse finishes evaluation (excited delirium)
Between - T shirt pulled over his head by deputy while waiting
7:27AM - Ambulance requested
Between - Earl "calmed down or stopped moving"
7:34AM - Medics arrived
7:35AM - Transferred from Sheriff's gurney to ambulance gurney
7:36AM - Placed in ambulance, spit hoods removed/Not breathing. EKG = cardiac arrest
Between - Wrap and handcuffs removed
7:43AM - Placed on the ground and CPR started
7:49AM - Pulse detected
7:52AM - Placed in ambulance and taken to hospital