Mekelburg's, the craft beer and specialty food shop in Clinton Hill, has been in turmoil since HuffPost published a story a week ago profiling a popular anti-Muslim Twitter troll, Amy Mekelburg. It turns out her brother, Daniel Mekelburg, is the shop's co-owner, along with his wife, Alicia Guevera. And since the story was published, the owners have faced accusations of condoning Mekelburg's Islamophobia, along with calls for a boycott, the New York Times reports. Responding to the uproar, Guevara posted a statement on Facebook addressing the issue.
Yes, Amy is my husband's sister. Daniel and I do not agree with or support the views Amy has posted; they are hers and hers alone. It's on her to explain and defend why she's been viciously attacking people online. It's on her to explain and defend her worldview. I cannot and will not speak to any of it. To do so would offer it a validity I refuse to give.
Amy has never been linked to or involved with our business in any capacity whatsoever. This revelation of her twitter account has, frankly, thrown our family into chaos. We are disturbed, revolted and humiliated.
Mekelburg's has had to briefly turn off their phones after incessant out-of-state callers and hire a security detail over the weekend. Grub Street reports Guevera has received messages critical and skeptical of her Facebook statement, and even threats.
Guevera declined to comment in response to our questions, and it's unclear how much their business has been impacted. Their Yelp page was inundated with negative comments, and the Twitter condemnation was characteristically swift.
Ya- this is not near enough. Not even close. I'm sorry for your connected to her, but had you brought her hate into the open, on your own- forgiveness may be in order. But you sat, in silence. It's only now, worried about profits, that we hear from you. #Mekelbergs #NewJersey pic.twitter.com/rMV6xtn8wG
— Elizabeth Harmon (@ElizabethHarm20) June 1, 2018
If you weren't completely feckless, you'd say "I don't agree with what she said, but she certainly has the right to say it on the internet without having her entire family put at risk by a news organization who wants clicks."
— John Danneskjold (@JohnDanneskjold) June 5, 2018
One, where's your husband's signature? Two, "it's just family" is no good anymore. He has a responsibility to take action--to help her, to get her Twitter shut down, something. And if he wants to make his $$$ in a community that proudly includes Muslims he has to be transparent.
— QueensProgressive (@johnnybilo) June 1, 2018
Neither the cafe nor its owners were identified by name in the HuffPost story, but it was easy enough to figure out. Yet the establishment's familial connection to a racist Twitter troll is far from the most interesting aspect of this story, as Amy Mekelburg's ties to New York go far beyond her brother. In 2005, she was living with her future husband, Salvatore Siino, in the Upper East Side, and one of her close friends, Paul Cortez, was convicted of gruesomely killing a woman who worked as a stripper. Mekelburg and Siino created a nonprofit dedicated to exonerating Cortez, and hired John Gotti's criminal defense lawyer, Jeffrey Lichtman, to represent Cortez. The conviction was not overturned. When Cortez was transferred to Auburn Correctional Facility, in upstate New York, Mekelburg moved to a nearby hotel. When Cortez was transferred downstate, Mekelburg moved to Fishkill, where she lives now.
While her twitter presence is largely dedicated to promoting extremist propaganda about Islam, she is also a vegan (what is it with white supremacists and veganism?) and a fitness enthusiast, all the more reason it's unlikely she would visit, or much less have any connection to, Mekelburg's, with its enthusiastic emphasis on meats, cheeses, and beer.