Canadian Anti-Hate Network
Kevin Johnston, best known for losing a $2.5 million defamation case for “hateful, Islamophobic” comments, has managed to get his overtly racist coffee brands onto the shelves of an anti-lockdown grocery store.
William Fehr has run his small Scarborough grocer and butcher shop since 1995. Founding JW Foods in partnership with his brother Stavros Trougakos, he built a business that offers specialty meats as well as food products and services to its clients. When the pandemic hit, however, Fehr took up the same cause as a few other anti-lockdown small business owners and operated in defiance of the public health orders.
Classified as a grocer, it appears JW Foods was never required to fully close like other “non-essential” businesses. What Fehr did instead was promise that anyone who came into the location not wearing a mask and claiming a medical exemption would be served.
Anti-lockdown rallies swelled with followers over 2020 and while the winter did lower attendance, the events have continued across the country. More than just people protesting pandemic policies, hate groups and bigoted individuals have become regulars in the movement’s orbit.
Criticism of Ontario’s lockdown policy aside, JW Foods now appears to have chosen to become a home for Kevin J Johnston’s Coffee Company. The coffee brand offers roasted beans with names like “Wasted Native” and “Mayor Mud,” a reference to Calgary’s sitting Mayor, Naheed Nenshi. The titles are deliberately meant to stoke controversy. Johnston also claims to be in the running for mayor in Calgary’s upcoming municipal election.
When reached for comment, Fehr denied that his store was carrying the brand “Wasted Native,” due to the offensive name, but felt that “Mayor Mud” was appropriate and had decided to carry it along with another of Johnston’s products.
“We do not sell ‘Wasted Native’ at our store because we did not agree with the name,” Fehr wrote in a Facebook message. “Now regarding the other two coffees, we saw nothing wrong with the wording or packaging, so we will continue to sell both.”
We called JW Foods on the same day and had an employee read out the brands offered. “Wasted Native” was among them.
The package also claims that the coffee is fair trade. Typically this is a certification that guarantees the coffee farmers a living and sustainable wage for producing the beans. Fairtrade Canada is one such body that certifies coffee brands.
They noted over Twitter that if Johnston’s company is fair trade, it hasn’t been certified through them.
“While we can only speak for our certification, we can confirm that this brand is not Fairtrade certified,” the organization wrote on its social media. “What is more, we acknowledge that today’s supply chains carry the legacy of the racist, colonialist past they were built upon.”
Appearing March 19, Fehr didn’t mince words about carrying all of the coffee brand’s products.
"Because I have a lot of respect for you [Kevin Johnston], and I have a lot of admiration for what you do and your stance on everything that you do, I offered JW Foods to carry every brand that you have,” he said. “One of the things I want to do is make sure that people understand that JW Foods is not just about us. It’s about the community that we are and Kevin J Johnston is part of our community and will always be part of that community. I have a lot of respect and love and admiration for you sir, which is why I reached out to you.
“As of tomorrow, you can get every brand that Kevin offers.”
Fehr did not respond to follow-up questions about the discrepancy between his comment to us compared to his statement on Johnston’s show and that of one of his employees.
The Future Mayor Of Calgary? Naw.
Despite his political ambitions, Johnston still owes $2.5 million for statements he made about Paramount Fine Foods owner Mohamad Fakih during a protest. At the time, Ontario Superior Court Justice Jane Ferguson called Johnston’s actions toward Fakih “hate speech at its worst.”
He has continued to defame Fakih, referring to him as a baby killer and child murderer.
By his own accounting on his streams, Johnston has yet to pay any of the total, and often challenges others to sue him, citing his plans to drag the process out and refusal to pay judgments levied against him.
Even the stamped label of his coffee reads, “Remember, global warming and climate change are a lie. The planet isn’t warming up due to humans driving cars and enjoying camp fires. Greta Thunberg is a mildly mentally ill child.”
Johnston added at the end that people should stop paying taxes.
In 2017, after Johnston posted a video offering a $1,000 reward for video of Toronto Muslim students praying at school, he was charged with willful promotion of hatred under Criminal Code Section 319(2). Despite a five-month-long investigation and charges laid almost four years ago, he has yet to face trial.
When asked about Johnston’s history of making hateful remarks, Fehr said he would look into them.
“Regarding your other claims against Mr. Johnston, these are claims [of hate speech] that we are just hearing about now and we will do our due diligence and investigate further,” Fehr wrote in his initial response. “JW Foods does not and will never support racism or any other form of discrimination. Thank you for bringing this to our attention.
“We will forward your message to our corporate lawyer to look into this claim.”
The anti-lockdown protests themselves often trade in conspiracies that view social justice movements like Black Lives Matter and the protests that followed Floyd George’s murder as part of larger plots to subvert democracy and western freedoms. Architects include shadowy “globalist elites” (often a stand-in term for Jewish people) as well as currency trader and philanthropist George Soros.
Figures like Wexit co-founder and United We Roll convoy organizer Pat King has appeared at multiple protests in Alberta and Ontario, alongside an assortment of other hateful individuals, including homophobic and anti-Muslim street preachers Artur and Dawid Pawlowski -- who organized the tiki torch baring “Jerico Peace March” in Edmonton.
Antisemitism has been part of the Vancouver anti-lockdown scene since its earliest days, when neo-Nazi Brian Ruhe was an organizer. He left in the fall of 2020, but researchers say it was of his own accord, he is still friendly with organizers, and that he still attends the larger rallies.
Last year, Ruhe appeared in a video with Vancouver anti-lockdown organizers in a mock Nazi book burning led by Monika Schaeffer, complete with Nazi salutes.
Odessa Orlewicz, an organizer in the Vancouver scene recently published a video repeating antisemitic conspiracy theories and promoting QAnon. While Susan Standfield, much less prominent a force than she once was, recently made headlines for her attempts to sell shirts with a Star of David affixed to the sleeve that reads “COVIDcaust” on the inside.