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56 Brewing CEO resigns in response to noose story

As noted by Facebook commenters, Kale Johnson's announcement didn't say anything about selling his stake in the brewery.

As noted by Facebook commenters, Kale Johnson's announcement didn't say anything about selling his stake in the brewery. Facebook

Kale Johnson, the founding owner of 56 Brewing, announced Thursday he has resigned from his role as CEO.

"I do not take this action lightly as I love 56 Brewing and I am so proud of what we’ve collectively created over the years," Johnson wrote in a post on the brewery's Facebook page. "However, it is apparent that my continued presence at the company is creating a negative impact to the company that I love. I understand now that recent and past events have caused people that I care about hurt and pain and for that I am truly sorry."

Johnson's resignation announcement only addresses his role as CEO, and does not mention whether he'll still be part owner of 56, a fact noted by several commenters replying to the post. 

The post is Johnson's latest attempt to apologize for his racist treatment of a black former employee. That employee, Mahad Muhammad, went on record with the Growler in a story published today, filling in details on a disturbing joke Johnson made at his expense.

Muhammad says Johnson had fashioned a rope into a knot that looked like a noose, and said to Muhammad, "Come here, boy," in a rather obvious allusion to lynching him.

A second witness confirmed Muhammad's memory of the event.

Muhammad left 56 Brewing soon after, and wrote of the racist taunting in a resignation letter in 2018; Johnson wrote earlier this week he hadn't read the letter until now.

On Instagram this week, Muhammad rejected Johnson's description of his joke as a "construed injustice," and said the noose episode was "one of the lowest moments in my life, and I'm back reliving it."

Muhammad added: "I appreciate the support and love wholeheartedly!"