Owner of Cheers Minneapolis Accused of Antisemitic Comments
The owner of a new gay bar in Uptown is under fire for allegedly posting a series of antisemitic comments on social media.
Red Star Group LLC owner Emad Abed plans to open the Cheers Minneapolis gay bar later this month, TCB reported Monday. On Tuesday, a number of screenshots circulated showing Facebook user Emad Yousef Abed making several antisemitic comments. One post said “Israel & its people must be eliminated from existence.”
After the screengrabs were widely shared, two locals organized a protest of the bar’s opening, which is slated for June 21.
“Something needs to be done,” says Samuel Doten, one of the protest’s organizers.
Doten says he realized something “more sinister” was happening after the bar created a GoFundMe account seeking more than $1 million to purchase the building, which previously housed Rudolphs Bar-B-Que. As of Tuesday, Cheers’ GoFundMe account and Facebook page have been disabled. Doten adds that Abed apparently wasn’t looking for investors or other traditional ways of acquiring capital.
“There’s probably some reason he couldn’t get a bank loan or other financing. And you’re asking for a huge amount of money from the community with no guarantee that’s going to actually serve the community.”
Gary Schiff, a former Minneapolis City Council member, says Abed’s alleged comments could be grounds for the city to suspend the bar’s liquor license, which was approved in February. Schiff points to a clause in the city code stating that individuals who are “not of good moral character or repute” can be denied a liquor license.
“I don’t think this should be very difficult for the city to step up with the new information and decide this person shouldn’t have a liquor license,” Schiff says.
Schiff also notes that businesses seeking a liquor license must list all investors upfront.
When reached for comment Tuesday afternoon, Abed denied making the comments.
“I am not antisemitic,” Abed said. “I don’t have any posts that are antisemitic.”