Whipsaw Brewing

Whipsaw Brewing has feet print painted on the ground to remind patrons of proper social distancing at the outdoor patio in Ellensburg.

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A “moment of insanity” lead to a contentious weekend for an Ellensburg brewery, but according to the brewery co-owner, it was not the reason for the firing of an employee.

The owners of Whipsaw Brewing, Charlie and Debbie Tierney, posted photos depicting Gov. Jay Inslee as a Nazi above the notification that Inslee is requiring all people entering indoor facilities to wear a mask. Another poster also said “if you want to make trouble or complain about Social Distancing and Masks you should probably bypass us.”

A poster stuck to windows also stated the brewery would no longer be showing NBA, NFL or MLB games, or any other entity that shows kneeling during the national anthem. The poster stated the people in Whipsaw brewing have family members who “currently serve in the military, or, are currently working in law enforcement or have retired,” and Whipsaw “could not in good conscience support those who disrespect our family and loved ones.”

Images of these posters went viral on social media, with many people showing their distaste and anger for the stance the brewery was taking.

Whipsaw Brewing manager Rebecca Reynolds said she talked with co-owner Debbie Tierney regarding safety concerns for herself and her co-workers. Reynolds said she felt unsafe due to recent online outcry against political photos and statements that had been stuck to the windows of the brewery.

She also said she feared for the reputations of herself and her co-workers. She saw posts on Facebook claiming the brewery was racist, and she didn’t want anyone to think of herself and her co-workers as such.

She brought these concerns to Debbie Tierney, Friday, the day after the posters went up. She was notified of her termination from her position with Whipsaw Brewing the next morning.

“Quite frankly I am not sure why I was fired,” Reynolds said. “I was expressing concern for the safety and reputation and overall well-being of myself and my fellow co-workers.”

Tierney said Reynolds’ termination had nothing to do with her expressing her concerns. She said she would not reveal the actual reasoning behind the decision out of respect for Reynolds. She said what happened was between them and should stay between them.

Reynolds said Tierney told her the reasoning for her termination was that Tierney was concerned Reynolds was starting a mutiny to get other employees to quit. When asked to comment on this Tierney said, “that is not why Becca was released.”

Tierney said the posters that went viral have been removed from the windows. She said the posters were “pretty inflammatory,” and she put them up in a “moment of insanity.”

“It’s something that I regret very much, and I owe a lot of people apologies for,” Tierney said.

She said her employees had every right to be frightened. She said she was genuinely remorseful when Reynolds came to speak with her Friday, but there are circumstances that she does not wish to share.

“The hard part is I know how Becca feels, and I love and adore her. It was just a business decision that I had to make,” Tierney said. “It had nothing to do with her fear for safety and her concerns. I felt the same concerns that she did.”

Reynolds said she does not know if bringing up her concerns was what got her fired, but she thinks she would not have been fired if she didn’t. She said she didn’t meet with Tierney Friday to discuss any political differences she may or may not have regarding the posters, but to discuss the safety, reputation and well-being of all employees.

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