MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The owner of a Minneapolis bar who donated to a former KKK leader’s campaign calls it free speech. Julius De Roma owns Club Jager in the North Loop. He contributed $500 to white nationalist David Duke’s Senate campaign in 2016.
It’s been a tough 24 hours for people who work at Club Jager. They learned at an emergency staff meeting Monday owner Julius De Roma donated to the campaign of known racist David Duke.
“All showed up and just wept together and cried about the whole loss and shame of the thing,” Drea Kingston said.
Former bartender Drea Kingston said the $500 contribution told her all she needed to know about the man who signs her paychecks.
“It says racist, it shows white supremacy, it shows hatred. It’s vile and it’s disgusting,” Kingston said.
And that’s why she quit.
“Hatred was not welcome in my life nor should it be in anyone’s in this day and age,” Kingston said.
WCCO asked De Roma about it at his home.
“It’s just basically free speech,” De Roma said.
His response to some of the fallout, “Well whatever. What do you expect it’s basically something that is blown up beyond what it should be,” De Roma said.
A popular The Current DJ tweeted he will end the weekly dance party Transmission at Club Jager. Thursday’s event has also canceled.
Kingston said the action has consequences for a hard-working, diverse and accepting staff.
“I am just so saddened that everyone is going to be going through financial crisis, undue stress. It’s been so stressful I’ve never ever had the thought that I didn’t want to go to work there until today,” Kingston said.
A regular at Club Jager started a GoFundMe for employees.
Ton Up Motorcycle Club Minneapolis, which holds the largest annual event at Club Jager — the Rockers Spring Social — released this statement Tuesday:
Recently City Pages has published an article that has brought to light to many, including our club membership, that the ownership of Club Jager has donated to the 2016 election fund of self- proclaimed racist David Duke.
As the promoter of the largest single event held at Club Jager every year: The Rockers Spring Social, which draws 3,500+ diverse motorcycle riders and enthusiast every spring to raise scholarship funds, and support youth training with Tools4Teens, we cannot continue to host or partner with Club Jager on this or other events we have collaborated on based on this recent revelation.
In no uncertain terms, The Ton Up Club of Minneapolis rejects the ideas and hate that have been the essence of David Duke and others within the racist and violent nationalist movement.
Our membership is diverse on many levels, and the very idea of what David Duke stands for is not only repugnant but goes against the very core of American and Universal values.
There are many good staff members of Club Jager who we know do NOT share the views of ownership, however, we cannot continue a relationship with Club Jager based on the recent revelation of funding to David Duke by its owner and regret any personal loss to individual employees that we have worked with and have known to be good people.
We will actively begin searching for a new partnership for the Rockers Spring Social.