Fleisher’s closed after staff walks out over BLM sign removal

Brooklyn-based “rockstar butcher” Fleisher’s has been forced to close its stores because dozens of workers reportedly walked off the job after the CEO removed Black Lives Matter and LGBTQ pride signs that employees had put in the storefront windows.

The company’s website says all of its locations, its two stores in New York City and two others in Connecticut, are “temporarily closed.”

A notice at Fleisher’s Upper East Side shop said the store won’t reopen until at least the end of August.

The beef between workers and management began last month, when Rob Rosania, a leading investor in the butcher, received a text from a pal in Westport, Conn. who was offended by BLM signs in the company’s local storefront, Forbes reported.

Rosania, a San Francisco-based real estate developer, reportedly called Fleisher’s CEO John Adams and told him to get rid of the signs.

Fleisher's Meats' Park Slope location.
Fleisher’s was founded in 2004 by Joshua and Jessica Applestone.Alice Proujansky

Adams, who’s just two months into the job, jumped on a train from New York to Fleisher’s stores in Westport and Greenwich to remove the signs himself, according to Forbes.

He then did the same in the company’s New York City stores, the report said.

John Adams
Adams took the signs down himself after a complaint from an investor.
LinkedIn

Fleisher’s workers told Forbes that Adams had joined the company with the promise of bringing accountability to the workforce of about 40, at least half of whom identify as BIPOC or non-binary or queer.

“I told him he failed at that,” said Ajani Thompson, 32, the only Black employee at the butcher’s store in Brooklyn’s Park Slope neighborhood, according to Forbes. “You were trying to get our trust, and I don’t feel comfortable here. I don’t feel safe coming into work because you didn’t do that.”

Thompson told the outlet that workers hoped Adams would serve as a buffer between them and Rosania, who has gotten more involved since he first invested in 2015.

Fleisher's in westport
The signs were first spotted by a friend of Rosania’s at the store’s Westport location.
Google Maps

The worker walkout left Fleisher’s, which has established a reputation for high-end and pricey meets, unable to operate, and the nationwide labor shortage means it’s unlikely the company will be able to quickly replace its staff.

Adams tried to relent, putting the BLM and LGBTQ pride signs back up within 24 hours of removing them and even sending photos to employees as proof, Forbes reported.

Adams did not return The Post’s request for comment. According to Forbes, Rosania apologized in a letter to staff.

Thompson told Forbes that he resigned immediately along with two dozen of his colleagues when they walked off the job. Others, he said, are waiting to be fired.

Josh Applestone cuts meat at Fleisher's Meats' new Park Slope location
Josh Applestone cuts meat at Fleisher’s Meats’ Park Slope location
Alice Proujansky

“Think of me as an equal and none of this needed to happen,” Thompson told the outlet. “It’s messed up to think of someone as less-than and then want them to provide for you.”

Fleisher’s was founded in 2004 by Joshua and Jessica Applestone, who The New York Times crowned “rockstar butchers” in a 2009 feature.

Leave a Comment