British Columbia

B.C. brewery harassed online after hanging flag linked to violent anti-fascist faction

Boundary Brewing Co. in Kelowna had to shut down its company Facebook page after an onslaught of hateful comments from both Canada and the U.S.

'I was worried for my kids' safety and my family's safety,' says brewery owner

This is the flag Glaser put up in the tasting room at Boundary Brewing Company in Kelowna that sparked outrage online. (Oliver Glaser)

A Kelowna craft brewery has had to shut down its Facebook page, after receiving hundreds of harassing and violent messages from both Canada and the U.S. following the brewery's online post of a flag of an anti-fascist faction that has, been linked to violent protest.

Boundary Brewing Company hung the flag in its tasting room weeks ago, following the violent marches in Charlottesville, Va.

The flag was originally used by German leftist demonstrators who were involved in violent clashes with the Nazis in the 1930s. It is now widely used at sometimes violent "Antifa" rallies.

But the brewery owner says he is not violent himself and hung it "as a show of support for human rights."

Oliver Glaser hung the flag in his brewery's tasting room and posted a video to Facebook. (Oliver Glaser)

A video showing him hanging the flag initially did not spark any controversy, but, this week, suddenly created a stir when it was shared online. 

"I quickly realized that it had spread way past this local group," said Oliver Glaser, the brewery owner.

An example of some of the comments Glaser received online after his anti-fascist Facebook post. (Oliver Glaser)

He said, in a matter of hours, the video had been viewed close to 7,000 times and resulted in 15,000 hits to the company's Facebook page. 

Racial slurs & threats of violence

Glaser also received hundreds of negative comments, many threatening to boycott his business.

"Domestic terrorism, domestic terrorist was thrown around a lot. There were really vile and hateful things being said ... homophobic slurs and racist slurs."

The same flag was recently used at the Diversity Rally Against Hate in Winnipeg. (Kelly Malone/CBC)

Some of the people posting online even threatened to visit the Okanagan business "with some heavys ... then cause some shit."

"I was worried for my kids' safety and my family's safety," said Glaser.

He has since contacted the RCMP, taken down the flag and removed his company's Facebook page.

'Exactly what we're standing against'

"There was so much hate and stuff being spewed on there and that was exactly what we were standing against."

In addition to the Facebook comments, Glaser's Google review page has been bombarded with one-star reviews, though he says he's also "had so much support and so much love from around B.C."

Despite the backlash, Glaser said he does not regret mixing his political views with his business and he encourages other business owners to do the same.

He now plans to post a written manifesto inside his brewery.

"I want to make it very clear that we stand for love and tolerance and that we vehemently oppose hate of any form."

Glaser says instead of a flag, he will post a manifesto inside his brewery explaining his views. (Oliver Glaser)

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With files from CBC's Daybreak South.