Sally Loo’s Wholesome Cafe is under scrutiny on social media after owner Jennifer Fullarton posted an anti-Black Lives Matter protest statement on her Instagram story. Members of the San Luis Obispo community are responding on social media and calling for a boycott of the popular Los Osos Street restaurant.
On her personal Instagram account, Fullarton posted a photograph of Black Lives Matter (BLM) protests in downtown San Luis Obispo that was initially shared by San Luis Obispo Mayor Heidi Harmon on June 4.
Fullarton captioned the Instagram story in all caps and questioned the large gathering of protestors.
“Wait, so when can we gather at church/concerts/restaurants in groups of 100+ again???” Fullarton wrote in all capital letters. “#Mediaisofficiallyrulingourlives.”
A meme Instagram account, @atticboiz, saw Fullarton’s story and reached out for comment. The owner of this account, who remains anonymous, is a resident of San Luis Obispo.
In a June 12 Instagram post, which currently has amassed over 1,600 likes and 500 comments, Atticboiz wrote they felt a responsibility to understand Sally Loo’s Wholesome Cafe’s principal values.
Atticboiz wrote that the sharing of this conversation is not to disrespect Fullarton or Sally Loo’s Wholesome Cafe, but rather to bring awareness of its values to the San Luis Obispo community.
“I do strongly feel that in the pursuit of becoming conscious consumer that we have the right to know where your businesses and their owners stand on issues of social justice,” Atticboiz wrote.
On June 9, Atticboiz directly messaged Fullarton on Instagram, attaching a screenshot of her story, to ask about her stance on Black Lives Matter. Fullarton replied and offered to share every Instagram story she has shared, including posts of previous volunteer experiences.
“Wow, so great to see someone care so much about my personal life,” Fullarton wrote. “Should I start sending [my previous Instagram stories] now with my trip to Africa after high school or maybe when I volunteered regularly on skid row when I lived in LA?”
After an exchange of messages regarding the importance of Black Lives Matter to consumers of Sally Loo’s Wholesome Cafe, Fullarton told Atticboiz to take their business elsewhere.
“Take your business where you’d like,” Fullarton wrote. “The main thing I’ve learned to be confident in as a business owner is that you can’t make everyone happy. Goodbye.”
Fullarton later posted a screenshot of these messages on her personal Instagram account.
“I am now being bullied not only on my business [account] but personally by strangers,” Fullarton wrote in all capital letters again. “I will respond spicy. Come [and] get it.”
Fullarton also posted an image of the Black Lives Matter website and called Christians to read its mission statement.
“Christians, if you are posting anything ‘BLM’ please tell me you’ve at least read their ‘What We Believe’ statement,” Fullarton wrote in all capital letters again.
The “What We Believe” statement Fullarton referred to can be found on the Black Lives Matter website.
After Fullarton posted a screenshot of the messages with Atticboiz to her Instagram account, Atticboiz posted screenshots of the entire conversation to their Instagram account as well.
“I’m not looking to start a witch hunt,” Atticboiz wrote in an Instagram direct message to Mustang News. “My goal was and is to put the full story out there after Jenny posted a snippet saying I was bullying her.”
Sally Loo’s Wholesome Cafe’s most recent Instagram post is flooded with more than 200 comments expressing support for Black Lives Matter and calling for a boycott of the cafe. Each comment has a different call to action, ranging from support Black Lives Matter financially to breaking down the concept of a white savior complex.
“We have been loyal customers for years but cannot continue supporting your business after seeing the way you are talking about the BLM protests,” one Instagram user commented. “We will go elsewhere.”
Atticboiz added that while local business owners may choose to support causes, consumers also have a right to decide not visit such establishments.
“I think it’s important for businesses to be transparent about their values so I can make that decision,” Atticboiz wrote in a direct message to Mustang News.
There is one message that people commenting on Sally Loo’s Wholesome Cafe’s Instagram seem to agree on: a protest for human rights, while during a pandemic and social distancing restrictions, takes precedence over other gatherings. Between Atticboiz and Sally Loo’s Wholesome Cafe’s two posts, commenters acknowledged Fullarton’s freedom of speech. However, commenters wrote moving forward they will consider restaurants’ social justice values and vote with their dollars.
Political science junior Vanessa Ibarra was a frequent customer of Sally Loo’s Wholesome Cafe and visited every weekend for coffee and breakfast. However, Ibarra said she will stop supporting Sally Loo’s Wholesome Cafe until there is an evident change in the restaurant’s culture.
“I’m going to use my dollar and not go to Sally Loo’s Wholesome Cafe for the time being,” Ibarra said.
Ibarra said she does not expect all people to align with her views, however, she said this issue is one of human and civil rights.
“In a small town like San Luis, many businesses have been coming out and advocating [for Black Lives Matter],” Ibarra said.
Ibarra said as a Latinx person, she was deeply disgusted by Fullarton’s response to Atticboiz. Ibarra said she hopes to return to Sally Loo’s Wholesome Cafe after Fullarton takes ownership of this situation and commits to change.
This change extends beyond writing an apology on Instagram, and instead it calls for demonstrating an understanding of white fragility and dedicating resources to the Black Lives Matter movement, Ibarra said.
“Sally Loo’s can donate to nonprofit organizations and diversify their employment,” Ibarra said.
Atticboiz wrote that their intent of sharing this message was to allow others to draw independent conclusions regarding Sally Loo’s Wholesome Cafe. While Atticboiz and Fullarton were not able to agree, Atticboiz wrote that all people should be open to dialogue.
“People should always strive to be kind and understanding, willing to listen to the perspectives of others and willing to reexamine their own,” Atticboiz wrote in an Instagram direct message to Mustang News.
Jennifer Fullarton, owner of Sally Loo’s Wholesome Cafe, was not available for comment.