Activists and Portland weekly news outlets banded together to harass a writer and YouTuber and target her partner’s Portland coffee chain this week. Why?
Because the woman in question, Nancy Rommelmann, had the nerve to question the dominant progressive narrative regarding some “survivors” and “abusers.”
On her new YouTube show, #meneither, Rommelmann and her co-host, columnist Leah McSweeney discussed McSweeney’s groundbreaking and essential Penthouse article about Asia Argento and other #metoo era topics.
Rommelmann and McSweeney talked about Louis C.K.’s recent return to stand up, how he wasn’t exactly on par with people like R Kelly, along with the shaming of Aziz Ansari, and the recent implosion of the Women’s March due to its leaders’ antisemitism.
As Burke herself put it, “It will continue to be jarring when we hear the names of some of our faves connected to sexual violence unless we shift from talking about individuals and begin to talk about power.”
It’s completely reasonable to to think that Louis C.K. might not be history’s greatest monster and that Ansari was unfairly treated.
As for the Women’s March? Everything they said was true.
These widely held beliefs and perfectly reasonable conversations somehow triggered Camila Coddou, a former staff member of Ristretto Roasters, (owned and operated by Rommelmann’s partner Din Johnson).
So Coddou penned an open letter and solicited signatures from past and current Ristretto employees in an effort to harm Rommelmann and her partner’s livelihood. The Oregonian jumped at the chance to whip up an online outrage mob.
The Oregonian complained that Rommelmann and McSweeney called “into question the motives and trustworthiness of Asia Argento and Rose McGowan, two actors who accused Harvey Weinstein of sexual harassment and assault in 2017.”
The author of The Oregonian article started posting state records in an effort to justify her participation in the attempted mobbing.
The Portland Mercury screeched that Rommelmann’s point of view was “privileged, tired rhetoric as outrage-bait” in an article that is basically pleading with its readers to get outraged by Rommelmann’s opinions.
Despite the fact that Coddou is no longer an employee of Ristretto, The Portland Mercury went on to explain that “[Coddou] considered it a part of her own job to keep Rommelmann’s potentially damaging viewpoints from impacting other employees.” She claimed that it was her responsibility “as a woman of color in coffee.”
For a complete rundown of the drama, check out Katie Herzog’s excellent piece over at The Stranger.
I reached out to Rommelmann for her thoughts. She said:
I think part of [Coddou’s] motivation was to make us uncomfortable, perhaps fearful. While she ended her letter to the staff by saying, ‘I value all of you as individuals, coworkers, and most importantly, friends,’ her actions seem friendly to no one. She has instead succeeded in making these employees afraid her campaign will mean fewer customers, fewer tips, and job insecurity, which seems a bizarre and sad result of wanting to “protect” her former coworkers and friends.
When asked how her family was holding up, Rommelmann added, “There are many people being awful, but also, so many people being kind, truly, I have been moved to tears by people texting, ‘What can I do?’”
Finally I asked her if she planned to continue to make videos on her now “controversial” YouTube channel, to which she responded, “Oh, hell yeah.”
Johnson, by the way, told his employees via email that Rommelmann is not an employee, nor is she an owner, nor is she paid by Ristretto.
So there you have it.
Just when you think that online social justice mobbing can’t get any more incoherent and self-parodying, a story like this comes along in which activists and yellow journalists team up to threaten a man, his business, and his livelihood in an effort to silence his wife.
How very progressive.