Kavasutra Bar Under Fire, Bartender Attacked After Transphobic Social Media Posts

Kavasutra Bar Under Fire, Bartender Attacked After Transphobic Social Media Posts
Collage of posts screen grabbed from Kavasutra Instagram
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Kavasutra Kava Bar has been under fire after an Instagram post went viral on Monday evening. The incident led to a social media firestorm and an altercation at the Lake Worth location of the kava chain.

It all started when the bar posted a message on Instagram for an upcoming ladies night with a clear misogynistic and transphobic tone: "Tonight at 1 there will be a genetic female slam. If you are a chick per your DNA, well m'lady, it's slam time. #slams tonight for chicks only. Chicks means born with a vagina. You must have ovaries."

The post, which included the hashtags #nodudes and #ovariesmakeawoman, received a barrage of negative comments on social media.  At one point, the bar's social media team seemed to have doubled down on the post with the following reply to a comment:

"The point of ladies night is to get ladies in the door so the men can bang them. If there's no vagina then they don't qualify because they don't benefit the business and the plan."

Things escalated when the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office responded to a call at the bar's Lake Worth location on Monday evening. According to ABC Action News, a confrontation occurred when a female employee threw a bowl of kava on several people who had come into the bar and one of them sprayed her with pepper spray.

Kavasutra has bars in Denver, Fort Lauderdale, Deerfield Beach, Lake Worth, North Palm Beach, and Delray Beach. In 2015, it opened the first kava bar in New York's East Village neighborhood. It serves kava juice, a mixture of water and dried, ground kava root. The drink is said to have a relaxing effect, and some people use it as an alternative to drinking alcohol. It seems the Lake Worth bar is the location most active on social media.

Since then, the bar posted that its social media was hacked, referring to Joy Reid. The MSNBC host claimed hackers were behind some homophobic posts found on her social media account. It later posted the following statement on Instagram:

Kavasutra Kava Bar is viruently and adamently opposed to discrimination in all forms. Any such inequity or prejudice will be met with swift physical removal from in or around our establishment. Our friends and patrons understand this policy and our convictions. We have compiled a collection of pictures and videos from the past few years and we hope this clears any confusion presented from recent social media posts.

Spending a few minutes scrolling on the Kavasutra Instagram page, it's difficult to believe the claims of a hacker. Along with pictures of people enjoying "shells" of kava, there's a trove of misogynistic posts that make a frat house seem like a nunnery, from Bill Cosby date rape jokes to a reference about female genital mutilation.

A post shared by Kavasutra (@kavasutrakavabar) on

  • In a post from July 9, Kavasutra apparently asks female patrons to prove they're really female by lifting up their shirts. In a grainy video posted on July 9, you can hear the bartender saying, "I need proof that you ladies are ladies."

  • In June, Kavasutra posted a cartoon depicting Bill Cosby hovering over a sleeping Snow White — an unveiled joke about the actor's history of drugging his victims.

  • In April, a post stated, "In many kava bars in Vanuatu, woman (sic) are not permitted to enter the bar. Let's celebrate other cultures with female bans and childhood arranged marriages."

  • This past June, a post stated, "How can male circumcision be so great and female circumcision so bad?," a clear reference to female genital mutilation.

  • Around the time Kim Kardashian met with President Trump, the bar posted, "Kim K Definitely swallowed Presidential load like Monica."

  • In June, the bar posted an Instagram rant against support animals that read, "Emotional support animals are not permitted and you will be ejected. Fuck you and your emotional support peacock."

  • Finally, a week ago, a strange video was posted showing what appears to be a man dressed in tribal gear cleaning the bar's bathroom.

Last week, New Times reported that signs reading "Kava is proof that God hates beer" were placed in front of Saltwater Brewery in Delray Beach as part of a marketing campaign by Kavasutra Kava Bar, which has five locations in South Florida, one sitting less than a half-mile from Saltwater.

New Times called the Lake Worth location for comment and will update this story with any additional information.

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