Ristretto Roasters in Northwest Portland closes as #MeNeither controversy simmers

A Northwest Portland location of Ristretto Roasters closed this week while the wife of the coffee shop’s owner continues to publish episodes of her controversial YouTube show and podcast called “#MeNeither,” The Portland Mercury reports.

The Mercury reports that the location on Northwest Nicolai Street inside Schoolhouse Electric officially closed Tuesday.

“It has been an abrupt and unfortunate ending to a long relationship,” the president of Schoolhouse, Sara Fritsch, said in a statement Wednesday. “We are now focused on establishing a fresh coffee partnership with a company that shares our values and complements our brand.”

Last week, two Oregon-based grocery chains, News Seasons and Market of Choice, announced that they were no longer buying or carrying Ristretto Roasters coffee in the wake of the controversy.

Nancy Rommelmann, a writer and the wife of Ristretto owner Din Johnson, started the #MeNeither show with columnist Leah McSweeney. In it, the two offer rebuttals to the #MeToo movement and discuss hot-button topics like “toxic feminity.”

While Rommelmann and Johnson have said that Rommelmann is not professionally affiliated with the business, former employees disagree, and say she is heavily involved.

New Seasons, Market of Choice no longer carrying Ristretto Roasters coffee after #MeNeither controversy

Portland-based grocery store New Seasons has pulled Ristretto Roasters coffee from its shelves in the wake of an ongoing controversy over Ristretto owner’s wife Nancy Rommelmann YouTube series called “#MeNiether.”

Rommelmann was listed on state records for the business as recently as last month, has been referred to as a co-owner in previous, positive, press coverage, and last week was behind a string of now-deleted tweets from the company’s official handle attacking a former employee and other critics.

Rommelmann previously reviewed books and wrote feature stories as a freelance writer for The Oregonian/OregonLive, ending in 2014.

The latest episode of the show published on Feb. 3, which is not currently on YouTube but is available as a podcast, features guest Cathy Young and discusses an article Young wrote for Reason.com that asks, among other things: “But is rage feminism (to coin a phrase) the way forward, or is it a dangerous detour?”

Thirty employees and former employees of Ristretto signed a letter sent to Portland media outlets in January.

A YouTube channel called #MeNeither, which questions the honesty and motives of sexual assault survivors, is creating a backlash against a Portland coffee chain.

“We believe it is a business owner’s responsibility to create a safe and supportive working environment for their employees,” the letter said. “Invalidating assault survivors throws into question the safety of Ristretto Roasters as a workplace and has the potential to create a demoralizing and hostile environment for employees and customers alike. This cannot be tolerated.”

Ristretto now has three locations in Portland.

“According to staff,” wrote The Mercury’s Alex Zielinski, “Rommelmann worked the final shift at the Northwest location before it officially closed its doors.”

Ristretto Roasters did not responded to request for comment.

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