After finding out a Minneapolis club owner donated $500 to the 2016 Senate campaign of former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke, performers’ cancellations and customers’ boycotting forced the club to close last week.
The Minneapolis Star Tribune reports that former employees of Club Jäger confirmed Friday that the club was closed, leaving 17 employees without jobs. The former employees told the Star Tribune that the decision to close the club was made by the club operators and not the club owner, identified as Julius DeRoma.
Last week, after City Pages published a story about DeRoma’s donation to Duke’s failed bid for a U.S. Senate seat in Louisiana, performers, including DJ Jake Rudh and the 90s Preservation Society, announced that they would be canceling their standing gigs at the club.
In a post to his personal Facebook page, Rudh wrote:
Transmission will not be taking place this Wednesday at Clubhouse Jager. Nor will it ever take place there again.
Like many of you, I was shocked and appalled to hear the news about the venue’s owner this morning.
I refuse to stay at a venue where the owner supports the likes of David Duke and his messages of hate.
I thank all of those who have come to the venue to support myself, Transmission and it’s [sic] hardworking staff. This is not the end of the weekly dance night, but it very much is at Clubhouse Jager.
Bigotry, hate, violence, and racism has no place at Transmission or anywhere on this planet.
Similarly, the 90s Preservation Society canceled its standing Thursday gig via its Facebook page and directed its fans to a a GoFundMe page to support the former employees of Club Jäger, who are now out of work.
Rob Callahan is a writer who has hosted a trivia night at the club since 2009, and he told the Star Tribune that he was furious when he learned of DeRoma’s donation to Duke’s campaign, so he canceled his Tuesday trivia night.
Callahan told the Star Tribune that while some employees walked off the job immediately after finding out about DeRoma’s donation, others stayed because they have families to feed.
From the Star Tribune:
As news circulated on Tuesday and social media erupted, employee inboxes filled up with notes from friends who wanted to know what was going on and angry messages from others who accused employees of being Nazi sympathizers and apologists, Callahan said. A group of men followed one employee on the street, calling her a Nazi lover and then spit on her, he said.
The Star Tribune reports that by Wednesday, the only people left hanging around the bar were those who had not heard about the donation and half a dozen white supremacists who came to harass employees and make racist comments.
Callahan told the paper, “The people working there didn’t want to keep this guy’s business operating and continue to face harassment.”
The club was shuttered for good on Thursday, and former employees told the paper that they did not know what DeRoma’s plans for the club would be, but they did not want to be a part of it.
Read more at the Minneapolis Star Tribune.