Electronic music producer Moby has faced backlash after closing his Los Angeles based vegan restaurant Little Pine, which originally shuttered its doors on March 15th after the city enacted shelter in place orders due to the coronavirus outbreak. The DJ is now facing criticism on social media from former employees, after it was revealed that the restaurant was put on “indefinite hiatus,” in an email sent to employees on April 14th.
Employees claim that the restaurant had not updated them on the status of their employment or their health insurance prior to this email, despite “being promised two weeks of sick pay and a payout of accrued vacation times,” according to Consequence of Sound. They state that the email notified them that their health insurance was no longer covered and alleged that it took weeks to sort out checks containing accrued vacation time.
Moby stated that he was dealing with “personal issues,” while the restaurant was undergoing financial hardships, which prevented him from being able to subsidize the establishment. He also expressed remorse about not being “able to do more to mitigate the financial hardship” of his employees. “I fully accept that the shut down could’ve been handled much better, and for that I take responsibility, and again apologize,” he explained.
The restaurant has also posted an Instagram post reiterating their financial hardships, stating that they are “seriously in debt.” They also stated that they were “being viciously attacked by countless strangers,” on social media after the original reports of their closures was publicized.
“We have tried to do the right thing, and paid our managers and paid our employees and paid our vendors and paid our insurance, etc. and we are, again like most restaurants, seriously in debt,” their post reads. “All we ever wanted was to be a good vegan restaurant and serve our community and generate money for the animal rights nonprofits we love. And now not only have we been forced to shut down, but we are on the verge of bankruptcy, while being viciously attacked by countless strangers.”
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Lately we have been receiving a lot of very hostile comments about the way in which Little Pine was put on hiatus. Allow us to clarify: little pine, like most restaurants during this crisis, is in serious financial trouble. We have tried to do the right thing, and paid our managers and paid our employees and paid our vendors and paid our insurance, etc. and we are, again like most restaurants, seriously in debt. All we ever wanted was to be a good vegan restaurant and serve our community and generate money for the animal rights nonprofits we love. And now not only have we been forced to shut down, but we are on the verge of bankruptcy, while being viciously attacked by countless strangers. Honestly, after desperately trying to do the right thing and going seriously into debt, the vicious hostility makes us want to just shut the restaurant down. I guess somehow naïvely we thought that in this time of crisis people would stop being hateful and judgemental, but unfortunately we were wrong.
Others on social media however, claim that the account was blocking negative comments posted by employees, and shared screenshots of this on Twitter. Users had also claimed that Moby had taken pics of their animals without their permission in order to gain “clout” on social media, while others referenced his recent controversy regarding Natalie Portman. “Not (sic) all people who love to have a philanthropic reputation are, in fact, good people,” one user said.
— Colin Young (@ColinYovng) April 14, 2020
It took 45 seconds pic.twitter.com/4YGkJXA3fb
— big dumb bitch (@peachesxvx) April 13, 2020
Photo Credit: Raymond Flotat