2nd Victoria restaurant closes in wake of sex abuse allegations
VICTORIA -- Another Victoria restaurant has abruptly closed its doors in the wake of social media posts accusing a staff member of sexual abuse.
In a statement on its website, high-end Japanese restaurant E:Ne Raw Food and Sake Bar says it is “aware of a series of Instagram posts containing serious accusations against one of our employees” and is temporarily closing while it investigates.
The accusations were made on the Instagram page Survivor Stories Project, where anonymous reports of sexual and domestic violence on Vancouver Island are posted.
It’s the same website where accusations of sexual abuse first arose against an employee of Chuck’s Burger Bar in Victoria. Those accusations led to protests outside the eatery and a Victoria police investigation, which is ongoing.
On Monday, Chuck’s announced it was shuttering its Yates Street restaurant permanently in the wake of the investigation.
The management of E:Ne restaurant, which also operates NUBO Japanese Tapas next door, says the employee named in the accusations “will no longer work at any of our venues nor deal with any guests.”
One of the accusers who spoke with CTV News on Friday described her encounter with the staff member.
Laura, whom CTV News is only identifying by her first name, says she had known the man for years before she recently met up with him again at the restaurant.
“As I was enjoying my drink, we kind of reconnected a little bit,” she said, describing how she initially welcomed an intimate encounter with him. “Although I did consent to certain things, there were other things that happened that I didn’t consent to.”
Laura said the encounter became far more aggressive and forceful than she was comfortable with, and at that point she revoked her consent.
“That’s really where the problem is,” she said. “Someone is speaking out and saying, ‘I’m not OK with this,’ and those words aren’t being heard. It’s being ignored.”
E:Ne's management says it will “initiate a prompt investigation” into the allegations and will remain closed to customers until further notice.
“We stand by the survivors and are committed to holding those responsible to account,” the restaurant said. “The well-being of our guests and employees is our top priority.”
Laura, who formerly worked in the restaurant industry in Victoria, applauded E:Ne for its quick and unequivocal response to the allegations.
“I really commend them for doing that,” she said. “I hope that they have learned from the situation with Chuck’s where there was so much backlash from the community.”
Victoria police said in a statement to CTV News they are aware of the allegations on social media, and encourage anyone with information about sexualized violence to contact them.