Hipster Café Really Sorry for Letting Butt-Naked Guy Walk Around Store for an Hour

The Rocket Cat Café said the up-close-and-personal ad for the Philly Naked Bike Ride was a terrible mistake. [Photos mildly NSFW.]

Photo by Sarah Grey

Cropped image by Sarah Grey

A butt-naked man passed out fliers and walked around Rocket Cat Café for about an hour Friday as part of a promotion for the Philly Naked Bike Ride.

The event took place bright and early at roughly 10 a.m., and customers were not given any warning before it happened. Even café staffers were taken by surprise by the man’s visit due to an apparent miscommunication.

Reached on the phone Monday morning, café owner Karen Breese said she is deeply remorseful.

“I take full responsibility,” she said. “I did not do my due diligence in making sure this was handled properly.”

Photo by Sarah Grey

Photo by Sarah Grey

Breese said the overwhelming reaction by customers “has been extremely, extremely negative.” Patron Sarah Grey wrote on Yelp that she was not going to return to the café ever again because of the “promotion”:

I’ve been coming here for about a decade despite the stingy, mediocre food and spotty wi-fi, but I’m done. Today a creepy guy (I’ve encountered him before) was allowed to walk around NAKED for more than an hour. I was happily working away and suddenly found this dude’s junk in my face. I complained to the staff but they said the owner had given him permission. (I called the cops anyway, but they never showed.) The owner, of course, wasn’t actually there — she left it to the baristas to cope with the situation. So if you like coffee shops that inflict naked creepers on you and your children without warning or consent, you’ll love the Rocket Cat!

So how the heck did this happen? Breese said Tom Dimitriou, a co-organizer for the Philly Naked Bike Ride, asked her recently if he could hand out fliers about the event while naked. She agreed, she said, because she supports the Philly Naked Bike Ride, an annual event whose stated goal is to promote positive body image and cyclist safety.

Breese said Dimitriou told her that he would be covered in body paint, however, and she assumed that would mean his body would be quite obscured. In fact, he only had a few blobs of paint on him.

“You hear about women walking down the street with body-painted jeans on, and nobody can tell they have nothing on,” said Breese. “My perception of what body paint means is not a couple of paint splashes on somebody’s torso. That is not what I was picturing, and I should have asked what that meant to him so we were on the same page.”

Breese also said she attempted to send an email to her employees to notify them that Dimitriou would be handing out fliers while nude, but an error occurred and they did not receive it. “I don’t have any idea where it went. I thought I sent an email, but nobody seems to have it,” she said.

“There was no warning, so everybody was shocked, even the employees,” said barista Dubraska Soso.

To make matters worse, Breese said Dimitriou arrived a few hours earlier than expected, and she could not be at the café at that time to address the backlash.

“I am very sorry that it went the way it went,” said Breese. “I don’t think it was good for my business. I don’t think it was good for the Philly Naked Bike Ride. I don’t think it was good for anybody who had to witness it without consent. I don’t think it was good across the board.”

Dimitriou, though, was less apologetic. He downplayed critiques from customers who said that they were forced to see him nude without giving their permission. “I had permission from the owner. I figured that’s good enough. This thing about consent is an affront to our civil liberties. If someone gives you permission to be naked at their venue, and you don’t like it, then leave.” Likewise, he brushed off concerns that children at the café saw him naked. “That business about nudity hurting children is a lot of baloney,” he said.

Asked if he thought the “promotion” was a mistake, he said, “I wouldn’t do it there again because I don’t feel I have the total support of the owner.” Breese, on the other hand, said undoubtedly, “This was a mistake.” She posted an apology to the café’s Facebook page on Friday night.

Photo by X

Photo by Sarah Grey