Foxtail Coffee founders apologize, express regret for harassment response

COO stepped down this week

Image courtesy of Foxtail.
Image courtesy of Foxtail.

ORLANDO, Fla. – The chief operations officer of Foxtail Coffee, which has multiple Central Florida locations, has stepped down amid sexual harassment allegations, according to the Orlando Weekly.

Company officials did not directly address the accusations when they posted news of the resignation of COO David Sievers to social media on Wednesday.

"Foxtail was founded on establishing a safe environment for our team members and guests. We have a strong history of fair and supportive workplace policies and look forward to continuing to implement stronger processes and procedures to support our Foxtail Family moving forward,” the post read. "We love our team, we love our community, and we love the opportunity to serve coffee."

The Orlando Weekly reports that its staff has been in contact with employees who have made complaints about the environment.

In a thread on Twitter, one woman wrote that she was told to accept an apology when she reported sexual harassment. She goes on to say that she continued to feel uncomfortable, and when she tried to submit her notice that she would be leaving the company, she was told to not come back to work at all, according to her tweets.

“Now I am losing my salary, my health benefits and 2 years worth of helping build this company because MONEY was more important than taking responsibility that someone was being sexually harassed on your staff. I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again .....,” she tweeted. “If it isn’t me, it WILL be someone else. People like that don’t just stop, especially when they win.”

While some users on social media applauded Foxtail officials for taking action, others pointed out that no apology has been issued to the woman who went public with her complaints.

"It's unsettling to see that this was done only after public outrage online. This statement should have  included an apology to the employees especially and even to your customers who you let believe they were going to a safe space. You have a lot more to be done," Orlando food blogger @otownfood wrote in a comment on Foxtail's Instagram post.

On Thursday, Foxtail founders Iain Yeakle and Alex Tchekmeian posted a full apology to the accuser and its customers.

Here is the full statement:

This is Alex and Iain, the founders of Foxtail Coffee.

There are no words to express the regret we feel that our original statement did not clearly explain the disappointment, sadness and shock we felt upon learning about our long-time employee’s experience working at our company.

We take full responsibility and deeply apologize to her and all of our employees and customers who were affected by this situation. Our former COO is no longer involved with Foxtail Coffee. We have been in contact with the employee involved and we stand with her and support her as she moves forward.

We continue to maintain our core beliefs that welcome and support all walks of life with zero discrimination. Building this company alongside the Orlando community has been an honor and we value your compassion. We look forward to continuing to provide a safe, supportive space for our customers and employees while serving coffee to the community we love.

Winter Park-based Foxtail has locations in downtown Orlando, Altamonte Springs and on the University of Central Florida's campus, to name a few.

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