It’s worth noting that the incident took place on December 30th and WCGco announced Woods firing on January 6th, a 7-day turnaround that Hyde says was necessary to do due diligence but some say his firing was only brought about by the social media backlash.
After talking with Hyde about what happened, I asked him for his version of events and why he responded how he did. Here is his words unedited:
Sarah de Noyo, the bartender/server at West Coast Grocery Co. who was sexually harassed by Woods put an incredible amount of time and thought into her response. It’s quite long which is why I summarized a short hand of what happened above, but for those interested in reading her full account and backstory, the difficult to read story is posted in it’s entirety below.
On Sunday the 30th I was closing the brewery alone. Owen Woods, our brewer, had been sitting at the bar drinking for a while. He said he was hanging around because of something to do with the carbonation on some of the beer that he wanted to finish that night so he didn’t have to come in on NYE.
I lock the doors at 10, I proceed to clean for the next hour. At 11:03, nearing the end of my shift, I am at the bar looking through the checklist and about to count money. Kitchen manager had just left after having his shift beer, and another member of kitchen staff, former base camp brewer Kyle, was having his second beer (?) I’m not sure because I believe Owen was going behind the bar to get his own beers while I was doing other things. Owen steps away for a moment, I’m alone with Kyle. Kyle begins apologizing to me for the last time we socialized, where he made multiple physical advances towards me after I told him to stop, told him my exact expectations of him and how he should treat me, asked him if he could comply with that, and got a confirmation. He is detailing that he didn’t understand and that he was drunk, I say it’s not an excuse. I forgive him. Owen, having not been paid attention to for 30 seconds says “can you show me your boobs!”, to which Kyle and I both say “what the fuck?” I tell Owen to never speak to me again, to leave, he refuses saying he’s working. He says he doesn’t understand what’s wrong with his behavior. He tells me that he doesn’t know anyone else like me, with my confidence, with my “swagger”, and that I’m so fun and open that he thought I’d be okay with it.
Kyle is defending me, but still taking it pretty lightly. Owen asks me to explain to him why what he did was wrong. He says things like “he’s just curious” or “I figured I could say whatever to you because I’m drinking”. So not like, his inhibitions are low and it slipped out, but he argued that he could get away with more when he’s drinking because people will let him get away with it.
I begin to explain that you can’t say whatever you want to people, Kyle and I both use anecdotes to demonstrate smaller lessons in empathy and caring for others that you learn when you are young. He keeps mentioning he is scientifically curious, has been preoccupied with what my boobs might look like for the time I’ve worked there. I’m one of the original employees, so Owen and I met there in July. He tells me I can keep my empathy, insults me for thinking I’m a good person for caring about others.
The part that has been particularly difficult about this is that I am terminally ill. My right breast is slightly larger than my left. The left side of my body is a lot sicker than my right. I was fourteen when my friends started dying of what I have. I was 7 the first time I lied about an IV in my arm and why it was there to my peers because I was scared that I could never be considered beautiful or worthy of respect. These are things I hadn’t spoken out loud before, and I am explaining this to him because he has brought up that because my breasts are different sizes he is curious and has never seen that before and would be super interested. I am crying at this point telling him how creepy and hurtful his probing questions are. I am telling him that his curiosity doesn’t entitle him to anything, and beyond that, that you can’t say those things to women. He says he says it all the time, will continue to say it, that I’m the only one who has ever cared. He says I should take it as a compliment, that it’s him telling me I’m gorgeous. I explain that beyond that being the wrong way to compliment someone, singling someone out for their differences is selfish, sadistic, and insensitive. I explain that he has treated me like a background character in his life. He begins to apologize with things like “I’m sorry you feel that way, but I’m not going to change”
I continue telling him how difficult it has been to look in the mirror and see a body that to me, looks sick. It has been extremely painful noticing the physical manifestations of my illnesses. It has been something that has taken me so long to feel okay with. I say you have no idea what people go through, you have no idea what kind of relationship I have with my body and you have no rights to it anyway. I ask him to leave, he says no. Kyle urges him to leave, he says no. He tells me that I haven’t been empathetic to him, and I say “okay… how?” And he blurts out “I have cancer!”, to which Kyle, who is also his closest friend, says “no you don’t, what the hell.” I say even if you did, I have not violated your privacy or made fun of you for anything. He says “ball cancer!” I am crying more because it is clear he is not listening.
From here the conversation digresses further into a circular conversation from hell. I clocked out the moment he said something to me even though I wasn’t finished because I was worried about the owner watching the footage (which he often does) and getting mad that I was socializing on the clock or whatever it may have looked like. Kyle, his friend, was recently fired from base camp for being drunk at work, and I’ve had to give him clear explanations of my rights as a woman and how he crossed them on multiple occasions. Most of my socialization with Owen woods had been about the few dates I went on with Kyle and the boundaries he crossed that upset me, how people blamed me for being around him drunk, etc. He really should have known better, but as he stated, it was and is a choice that his curiosity is more important.
Upon leaving the bar I sat down with Kyle because at this point, I was still confused and trusted him at least a little more with Owen. It’s around 2 now, the conversation started at 11. Kyle admits that Owen asked him about my breasts and my body while we were seeing each other. I explain to Kyle that this has robbed me of confidence in all of my past sexual encounters, wondering if my body was something others we preoccupied on. I explain to Kyle that this is this shit women deal with all the tome and that’s why his behavior was so serious even if he’s “a good guy”.
Onto the next question, I apologize that that’s so long. I didn’t want to leave anything out. I notified management the next day, explained it to Caitlin who is the taproom manager, she immediately empathized and informed the owner who is basically the GM but doesn’t do much. Charlie, the owner, reaches out to me that day. St this point they are handling it well, they contact Owen. They both ask me what I am comfortable with from there. I mentioned to Caitlin that he shouldn’t be able to keep his job. That night, NYE, after a day of crying, I FaceTime Caitlin. It was difficult and embarrassing, but I tell her the entire story, complete with how it has made me feel in my body. That i am scared to go out. She informs me that Owen isn’t denying any of it. (Which, how could he? There’s a witness and a camera pointed at him for the duration of our conversation) and that we will do something about it. Charlie meets with Owen the next day and he completely matches my story, though I remember much more of it than he does.
The next day, the second of the year, I meet with Charlie. Charlie mentions he’s taking it seriously, and seems to be. But still throws around that it’s hard to even think about firing his brewer who won him a gold medal. I say that something has to be done, if we don’t take it seriously then it’s clear that we are okay with this behavior, that’s how we have a world
Where people in power get away with things like this. We rehash the story, and so on. I am asked if he is allowed to apologize to me in person again and I say as much as I don’t want to see him ever again, I want to cooperate as much as possible and that I will participate in the “mediation” with all of us there and let him speak to me during it. I said I would try to have an open mind, but that Owen was pretty clear on not wanting to change.
Before the meeting the next day Caitlin tells me
Charlie won’t fire Owen, asks me what I’m trying to get out of this. I said justice. I said this happens to a lot of women and that I want to feel safe at work, and that if they don’t fire him I will have to get justice in another way. That being an ally to this behavior is the same as supporting it.
We go into the meeting, Owen looks sad and apologizes, he apparently had no idea how much he was hurting me, and regretted it as soon as he said it. Charlie is crying and repeatedly guilting me with things like, “I just know Owen is a good guy and is sorry”. I say sorry doesn’t cut it. I explain that people can’t get away with things because they’re star players or good at making beer. Caitlin does her best to advocate for this side, saying that his role here made it difficult for me to come forward and agrees with me that this is a problem, and that it would have been easier to fire someone else vs. our only brewer. I mention that this is part of the issue. If his position of importance is coming into the decision making, we are clearly being more lenient because of it. Charlie says he hasn’t seen that side of him. Which, men never see that side of other men because they aren’t sexually aggressive towards other men, especially when they’re their superiors. Charlie suggests two weeks unpaid suspension and a class. I say that it took me years even to begin to understand my rights as a woman, that a class isn’t going to cut it. It could take years for him to change his behavior, and letting him keep his job because you like him tells him that if he keeps being likable he can do this type of thing. Charlie says it was an isolated incident. I say he has made comments like this before, that I have been angry with him, that I have spoken to him about why it was wrong and that he has given me similar half assed apologies after the fact many times before. That they’re not real. Owen mentions that he hasn’t slept. I explain that I don’t feel comfortable in public, that I refused to be in photos on NYE, that I’m wearing a ring on my ring finger so people don’t talk to me, that I am scared of the world we live in, that it worries me that his position of power is what is keeping him around even when he admits what he did. Charlie says ill hear from him about what will happen in the next 24 hours.
26 hours later I show up for my shift. Just before my shift I had a lot of trouble getting dressed because even wearing a sports bra, everything seemed to cling to my body. Having a body was something that mad me emotional. I go into work and Charlie is sitting down having drinks with 3-4 of his friends, laughing. This immediately makes me feel like they aren’t taking it seriously. Caitlin immediately pulls me aside because I have tears in my eyes and asks me if I need to go home. Not in a particularly nice way, but in a manager who is upset way. I don’t think she knows what she was doing, honestly, and I think has a lot of internalized misogyny and doesn’t understand that she deserves better. I explain that I was anxious all day waiting for this email that Charlie had apparently already started. Then I try to get dressed and it is really difficult emotionally. Then I get here and Charlie is able to have a nice time somehow. I say I wanted to be here but I don’t feel safe. I am afraid of men and I am scared that having a body is asking for it, as Owen explained to me. She says not to let him get to me, men are creepy, I need to get my game face on or leave. I leave.
I went to a movie after my 6 minute shift, during which I cracked a tooth from clenching my jaw from stress. I woke up thinking about this. I messaged Charlie asking for an update, just mentionin that the past few days had been hell for me and I was feeling really uncomfortable. He says he needs a few more days, I should hear by Monday. Caitlin texts me back finally at this point and asks me why I want to work there still among other problematic things. I tell them both I have to quit. I don’t feel safe, I don’t feel heard, I feel I’m being blamed, the stress is destroying my body and mind. I ask them to let me know what happens so I can reinvolve myself as necessary.
Very soon after I quit I get the email that I then screenshot and shared. There were so many issues with it that I couldn’t even respond. Then when I shared it, Caitlin immediately got upset that I threw them under the bus.
This is getting exhausting and I’m trying to be thorough. I may email you again if I realize there is something I forgot, but I’m gonna move on from there for now. They only somewhat apologizes, and only on Instagram. They are still pretending it was a single comment and not a long conversation. They are sort of acting like it’s he said she said, even though he admitted to everything. And I’m not even mad about Owen anymore, he learned his lesson. He has to understand what he did was wrong by now. I’m angry that Charlie only took action when hundreds of people saw his email where he blames me for being “friends” with Owen. I’m waiting for an apology on a massive scale, and a true admission of the internalized misogyny and a commitment to learn more and make it better. I had to quit my job before I even heard anything. That is not okay. And beyond that, they’re still skewing it.
I spoke to de Noyo further about if she thought Woods deserved a second chance, or if Hyde and West Coast Grocery Co. had did anything to make up for it in hindsight. De Noyo says “I don’t feel too guilty about the way things have gone” and says looking back on it and what’s happening.