Toronto's Jen Agg Has A Message For Protestors: 'You Picked A Fight With The Wrong B*tch'

She spoke with Narcity about the anti-vax-passport protests targeting her restaurant.

Toronto Staff Writer
Toronto's Jen Agg Tells Protestors 'You Picked A Fight With The Wrong B*tch'

One of Toronto's leading restaurateurs, Jen Agg, is fed up with the ongoing protests against vaccine passports that have been targeting one of her restaurant patios for weeks.

Agg told Narcity that these protests have been happening at Bar Vendetta every Saturday for the past month, and while police have insisted to her they are peaceful, she strongly disagrees.

"I've dealt with 20 cops over the course of this because it's always different cops. I had reasonable conversations with maybe two of them out of 20. And that was appreciated, but they really weren't able to do anything, because they were insisting that it was a peaceful protest," Agg said. "I could barely hear them insisting because of the pots being banged so loudly in the background, like, I don't know how anyone could say this is a peaceful protest."

Protestors began targeting her restaurant after she spoke out in favour of vaccine passports in Ontario. Since then, multiple videos have been shared on Twitter showing scenes of protestors threatening to spit into patrons' faces or banging pots as they chant "No vaccine passports!"

According to Agg, the police have told diners and staff present to not antagonize the protestors.

"Are you kidding me? These people are being incredibly verbally violent, never mind the danger of spraying aerosols all over the place while you're screaming in people's faces in the middle of a spit-based pandemic," Agg said. "It's just wrong on so many levels. So, it's not just about the noise and that sort of violent feeling, it's about the actual danger because they're clearly not vaccinated."

Toronto Police plan to attend this weekend

A representative from the Toronto Police Service (TPS) told Narcity that they have responded to five calls about protests at the restaurant since late July.

"Each time [police] have been there to keep the peace and make sure the sidewalk isn't obstructed and to monitor," TPS wrote in an email, before adding that everyone has the "lawful right" to peacefully protest.

"Officers will try to engage with all groups, including counter-protestors, and will remind them of the expected behaviour. If crimes are committed, officers can make arrests at the time, where warranted," police continued. "This weekend we will have extra officers in the area monitoring and engaging with business owners to address any concerns."

Agg responds to protestors

On Thursday, August 26, Agg shared a screen recording of an email she had received from one of the protestors, who wrote they believe that the "situation has come to a point where both parties can have a dialogue".

"We do not hate you as a person, Jen. We are, however, diametrically opposed to your call for vaccine passports," the email continued. "You are a prominent voice in this city and we find your call for it to be unacceptable because it marginalizes some of the most vulnerable in society."

"We are not anti vaxxers like you think," they wrote. "Some of us have gotten vaccines in the past. We are against stigma, marginalization, and creating a two tiered society."

The email then details their stance against the use of vaccine passports, before capping it off by claiming to put the proverbial ball in Agg's court.

"If you publicly retract your statement, we will leave," they wrote. "Your move, Jen."

To which Agg responded, "You picked a fight with the wrong bitch man!" and further clarified that she understands medical exemption from vaccination in immunocompromised people.

Support for Agg and Bar Vendetta

In light of the recent protests, Agg said she's received phone calls and "beautiful" emails from people across the country showing their support. However, she has been disappointed with how little support she's received from those within the restaurant community.

"I've had very little public support from prominent restaurant people," Agg said. "I could count on one hand, how many. It can be so isolating to always be out in front of something like this, as I always try to think big picture, be ahead of the curve, especially when it comes to public safety."

Agg said she chatted with Mayor John Tory a couple of days ago, and while he has already issued a statement against the protests, there has still been no response from the Ford government.

Narcity has reached out to Ford's office a couple of times for comment but did not hear back by the time this article went to press.

"The issue is that Ford needs to step up and mandate vaccine passports for fun things because that's what's going to get our last [percentages] of young people vaccinated," Agg said.

The Ontario government has already said that they will not implement the use of vaccine passports provincewide because it will lead to a "split society."

"Things like this are just going to keep happening until the government steps in and grows a backbone and stands up to these people," Agg told Narcity.

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