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​​​Anonymous women reveal misogyny in San Diego beer

East Coast Instagram account catalogued harassment and violence

The Instagrammer @ratmagnet shared screenshots, many of them from San Diego.
The Instagrammer @ratmagnet shared screenshots, many of them from San Diego.
“These stories are not mine and I do not vouch for their accuracy.”
 
That was the all-caps message in the Instagram bio of East Coast craft brewer Brienne Allan, as she used the platform to share firsthand accounts about women enduring harassment while working in the beer industry. Though Allan (using her @ratmagnet handle on Instagram) protected the anonymity of her sources, many of the women themselves named names.
 
The posts went viral, and hundreds more inflammatory testimonies poured in from across the U.S. and elsewhere. It received national news coverage and inspired local coverage. Perhaps nowhere more than San Diego.
 
“Worked at a brewery in San Diego where the regulars constantly grabbed and harassed all the female beertending staff,” wrote one account.
 
 “Myself and other female coworkers have brought up inappropriate behavior,” writes one, “and all you get told is, ‘This is just how the industry is.’”
 
“Everything was great until I became pregnant,” writes a former employee of one of San Diego’s largest breweries. “I was treated horribly by someone… when I reported this to my COO and boss, my job was instantly cut in half… shortly after I was pushed out entirely because my complaint marked me as a liability.”
 
One man was described simply as “problematic.” Others were said to make racist or sexist comments; grope female coworkers, employees, or customers; physically abuse domestic partners; or commit violent sexual assault. “Worked at another brewery in San Diego where the sales rep sent pictures of his dick to all the female staff.”
 
Another woman claimed a co-worker “grabbed my crotch, and told me he wished he wasn’t married and could fuck me.” They got more violent from there. “I was also assaulted in my own apartment,” said one of a popular bartender. “I woke up to his hands in my pants.”
 
While on the job with a fellow bartender — now a bar owner — a woman recounts: “He grabbed both of my wrists tight and held them up above my head saying, ‘I will fucking end you if you try to tell me what to do ever again.'” In a separate post, the same bar owner was rather graphically accused of attempted rape. In another post, a local brewer is accused of having raped two teenage girls on the same night.
 
I’m choosing not to report the names or businesses of the accused, here. Many of them are men well known to members and fans of local beer. I have personally interviewed several for this column. But I’m not doing any favors, nor keeping any secrets by omitting them: Their names are out there, attached to serious accusations. Jobs have already been lost. Some businesses will likely see steep losses. Careers may be ruined, as well as friendships and potentially marriages. I couldn’t provide anyone cover if I wanted to.
 
Whether you choose to believe every woman, or cast skeptical eye, there’s this: a human being cannot spend hours reading the @ratmagnet stories and not come away resolved to be better than the men it describes.
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The Instagrammer @ratmagnet shared screenshots, many of them from San Diego.
The Instagrammer @ratmagnet shared screenshots, many of them from San Diego.
“These stories are not mine and I do not vouch for their accuracy.”
 
That was the all-caps message in the Instagram bio of East Coast craft brewer Brienne Allan, as she used the platform to share firsthand accounts about women enduring harassment while working in the beer industry. Though Allan (using her @ratmagnet handle on Instagram) protected the anonymity of her sources, many of the women themselves named names.
 
The posts went viral, and hundreds more inflammatory testimonies poured in from across the U.S. and elsewhere. It received national news coverage and inspired local coverage. Perhaps nowhere more than San Diego.
 
“Worked at a brewery in San Diego where the regulars constantly grabbed and harassed all the female beertending staff,” wrote one account.
 
 “Myself and other female coworkers have brought up inappropriate behavior,” writes one, “and all you get told is, ‘This is just how the industry is.’”
 
“Everything was great until I became pregnant,” writes a former employee of one of San Diego’s largest breweries. “I was treated horribly by someone… when I reported this to my COO and boss, my job was instantly cut in half… shortly after I was pushed out entirely because my complaint marked me as a liability.”
 
One man was described simply as “problematic.” Others were said to make racist or sexist comments; grope female coworkers, employees, or customers; physically abuse domestic partners; or commit violent sexual assault. “Worked at another brewery in San Diego where the sales rep sent pictures of his dick to all the female staff.”
 
Another woman claimed a co-worker “grabbed my crotch, and told me he wished he wasn’t married and could fuck me.” They got more violent from there. “I was also assaulted in my own apartment,” said one of a popular bartender. “I woke up to his hands in my pants.”
 
While on the job with a fellow bartender — now a bar owner — a woman recounts: “He grabbed both of my wrists tight and held them up above my head saying, ‘I will fucking end you if you try to tell me what to do ever again.'” In a separate post, the same bar owner was rather graphically accused of attempted rape. In another post, a local brewer is accused of having raped two teenage girls on the same night.
 
I’m choosing not to report the names or businesses of the accused, here. Many of them are men well known to members and fans of local beer. I have personally interviewed several for this column. But I’m not doing any favors, nor keeping any secrets by omitting them: Their names are out there, attached to serious accusations. Jobs have already been lost. Some businesses will likely see steep losses. Careers may be ruined, as well as friendships and potentially marriages. I couldn’t provide anyone cover if I wanted to.
 
Whether you choose to believe every woman, or cast skeptical eye, there’s this: a human being cannot spend hours reading the @ratmagnet stories and not come away resolved to be better than the men it describes.
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