Anger swells over Calgary coffee shop use of Hitler meme to express frustration over alleged calls about coronavirus infractions

Regular client said there's no excuse for the use of the offensive meme - even with the frustration over the coronavirus

Social media anger has grown over a post from this Calgary coffee shop using Adolf Hitler. GOOGLE MAPS

WARNING: The image of the post is below and it may be offensive to some readers.

The owner of a southwest Calgary coffee shop said he’s being smeared, after social media furore around an Adolf-Hitler-memed picture he posted in relation to reporting public health measure infractions grew.

But a long-time patron said the owner’s rationale for the post is bogus – it’s just plain offensive.

Purple Perk owner Paul Overholt told LiveWire Calgary on Monday that he’s been the frequent target of people believing his business isn’t adhering to coronavirus public health measures.

He said that both Calgary bylaw personnel and Alberta Health Services (AHS) officials have been to his Mission location to go over the rules.

Emails to AHS and the City of Calgary weren’t immediately able to confirm these visits by their personnel. Purple Perk isn’t listed on AHS infractions online.

Late Monday, the City provided a response, saying both the business license unit and AHS responded.

“The officers spoke with management and provided education on the Provincial public health orders,” the emailed statement read.

“The business owner understood the need to comply and took the necessary steps to block off the patio to discourage citizens from using it.”

Concerns about Purple Perk posted to social media

Some on social media say they’ve passed by the location to see people gathered near the entrance or on the patio, ignoring physical distancing rules.

“We’re just strictly takeout,” said Overholt.

“I get the occasional call and we’ll go out to the curb.”

Overholt said there are fixed park benches just outside his shop where people frequent. He said there’s also bus stops nearby where people are congregating.

“Apparently ours (benches) are deemed illegal or something,” he said.

That’s where the Hitler post came in. He said he believes he’s being unnecessarily “persecuted” by people calling to complain about others gathering in the area for reasons unrelated to his shop. So, he posted it in response to a doctor’s inquiry about their public health standards.

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Overholt is no stranger to this kind of controversy. Last year, the shop posted a Justin Trudeau themed April Fool’s day patio area. The Prime Minister was depicted as the April Fool.

‘My heart compelled me to do the right thing.’

Long-time customer Alexander Bradley said he realizes that Calgary small businesses are struggling and that tensions are high. Especially when it’s coronavirus related.

But, using the Nazi theme to respond to the reporting frustrations, was despicable, he said. Especially on the eve of Yom HaShoah – the Holocaust Day of Remembrance – April 20 thru 21.

“I was just surprised for them to share, in such a light, of a meme of one of the biggest murderers in history and for them to make a comedic aspect of it for what pressures they’re coming under, comparing citizens to the Third Reich, was very alarming,” Bradley said.

“I’ve been a patron of that business 100s of times, and I’m thinking that my money has previously gone to a business that doesn’t see an issue in that.”

As a small business owner himself, he knows the immense strain that others are under. Bradley doesn’t want to cast anyone in a negative light.

But as a gay man, seeing the use of Hitler’s atrocities against minorities to prove a point, left him shaken.  That’s what compelled him to say something.

“My heart compelled me to do the right thing. I’ve been born and raised in this community and I care about Calgary, and that’s not Calgarian behavior,” he said.

Bradley said regardless of the current coronavirus business pressures, it’s no excuse to use this content.  

A better way to show frustration?

When asked if there was a more appropriate way to express his concerns over alleged malicious reporting of public health infractions,  Overholt said it wasn’t a response to an individual concern.

He said they tape off their patio area and people pull it down. Someone’s “bum touches the benches” and the phone rings. They’ve been coached on the health measures, he said, and they’re doing what they need to.

“We just thought we turn the tables, that’s all. We’re just tired of being wrongly accused of not taking this seriously,” he said.

About Darren Krause 566 Articles
Journalist, husband, father, golfer, writer, painter, video gamer, gardener, amateur botanist, dreamer, realist... never in that order.

9 Comments

  1. No! People have been sitting out there drinking their coffees and eating since COVID began. The owner has done nothing to stop it because he cares more about money than keeping people safe. If he really cared about COVID he would remove those benches or at least put a sign up telling people not to sit there.

    • Why is it solely the owners responsibility? What about the responsibility of the people actually gathered in front of hos place of business (not inside it) Read the article, he has put up tape to block the are but customers (or somebody) keep taking it down. Are we turning into a society of snitches, Doing Big Brothers bidding? If you don’t feel safe there then don’t go, it is (or was) a free country.

      • Yep, we snitches, and we don’t need another coffee shop that can’t play by the rules. Funny how many other shops can enforce physical distancing. The meme just really said it all….low class money thugs.

    • Well, at least we found Karen the complainant with her government paid leave to sit at home and file incessant complaints with authorities all day.Covid is going to be with us for at least another 12 months and keeping all service businesses closed the entire time, regardless, is not a viable option to manage risk.

      • You are a complete Moron. You are the problem with this whole thing. You do realize that if everyone just listened to the social distancing thing this whole ordeal would be over so much quicker right? But no, people like you don’t listen which makes this drag on. Please go sit on that patio. Please. Then just don’t go running to the hospital and taking advantage of the health care system when you need it. Acting like a tough guy and you’re better than everyone. What a joke.

      • Dave P : you should do a bit more research. she’s not on maternity leave (the reference was an outdated website). know you are frustrated to be at home, but i wouldn’t be calling people out on outdated information.

  2. Racist, plain and simple. Coincidentally its also Holocaust remembrance day today, I don’t think it was a simple “frustration” from that bigot. Never again will I step foot in that dive.

  3. He felt persecuted because people kept complaining about him illegally keeping his patio open??? Seriously, what an idiot. Why has he not been fined the max business fine for this ($500,000)? This type of attitude is why Calgary is in such bad shape and will probably be in isolation for months yet. His patio was open up until last week and AHS does nothing. Unacceptable! Make an example of this horrible business!

  4. He’ll be out of business soon enough after this move. You’d think with the state of the economy in Calgary right now any business owner would be smart enough to not post something so foolish. Then again, someone who cares so little about public health kind of deserves to go out of business.

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