Numerous women wrote on social media last month that Diego Macias, co-owner of Archie’s, a popular Bushwick pizzeria and bar, sexually abused them, BK Reader reported.
One woman said Macias sexually assaulted her, and others said he leveraged his power as a manager against non-managerial colleagues, all of whom were women.
On July 23, Archie’s closed its doors for good. Former staff say the business knew about Macias’s pattern of abuse but never disciplined him.
“I was sexually assaulted by Diego Macias in 2013,” Chloe Richards wrote on Instagram last month. “I was 19 years old. He was 11 years my senior.”
Macias and Richards were both working at Dos Toros, a Williamsburg taqueria, at the time. He groomed her for sex, she said, and carried out non-consensual sex acts against her.
“I know now that I was groomed to normalize the manipulative behavior and honestly, it worked,” Richards wrote. “It took a long time for me to understand how inappropriate the entire relationship was and even longer to process the sexual violence.”
Hers was not the first allegation against Macias, who began working at Archie’s in 2014. A woman brought a sexual misconduct claim of her own to the Archie’s owners on July 7. Other women made similar allegations, which Richards posted anonymously on social media.
According to Anavel River, Macias sent unsolicited, shirtless photos of himself to Archie’s employees, Rivera told Eater.
“I maintained a social and professional relationship with him,” Rivera said. “On one occasion he hit on me and I had to lay a boundary.”
“On some occasions, Diego would show up to Archie’s actually blitzed,” she added. “It was invasive, but being as he was the ‘cool’ boss, no one ever said anything to him.”
Macias, fired on July 14, won’t receive his stake in Archie’s, the restaurant said in a now-deleted statement on Instagram. (It is unclear whether such a move is feasible according to the contract Macias, a co-owner of Archie’s, signed with the business.) The company did not disclose any details about the allegations against Macias. “At Archie’s we have a policy not to comment on any investigation dealing with harassment or discrimination,” the statement said.
Former employees say Archie’s has evaded responsibility for Macias since at least 2018.
The statement “was a total cop out,” said Roarke Menzies, a bartender at Archie’s from 2017 until last March. It was “a way of silencing the stories,” he said, adding that two women brought sexual-misconduct allegations against Macias nearly two years ago.
“We were promised there would be action taken,” those two women said in a recent statement. They told Archie’s owners and attorneys about Macias in October 2018, according to BK Reader. “It was a slap on the wrist that no one took seriously. We felt like clowns,” the women wrote. “We rang the alarm only for it to fall on deaf ears.”
Several employees knew about the early allegations, Menzies said. “The fact that some of us were aware of what then seemed like isolated cases adds an extra sting to our current feelings of betrayal,” he said. “Like others, I trusted that the right steps would be taken, but I was wrong.”
Macias was required to seek therapy in 2018, Eater reported. Dimitri Karapanos, who co-owned Archie’s with his wife Gerelyn, told Eater he could not confirm that report.
“With any investigation, there are legalities, and we are bound by them, which prevents us from saying more,” Karapanos said. “We are required to uphold the confidentiality of the whole process — from the original complaint, through the investigation, through the resolution.”
“Closing Archie’s was an incredibly difficult decision to make but a necessary one,” Karapanos said. “Due to complex, personal circumstances, on top of the current global pandemic, I had no other choice. Closing was not an easy decision. We’re heartbroken by this.”
Several women “are filing reports” to seek justice, Richards said. “It’s now a legal matter.”
Cover Photo From Bushwick Daily Archives
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