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Anti-Gentrification Protesters Continue to Target Blue Cat Cafe

The drama was over the proposed filming of a television pilot

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Blue Cat Cafe
Blue Cat Cafe
Casey K./Yelp
Nadia Chaudhury is the editor of Eater Austin covering food and pop culture, as well as a photographer, writer, and frequent panel moderator and podcast guest.

Blue Cat Cafe was the site of another protest on Sunday, courtesy of a group frustrated with the cat cafe’s landlords and against the filming of a television show at the East Cesar Chavez property.

The group, Defend Our Hoodz, was protesting the filming of a television pilot for Comedy Central from actress/director/former Austinite Noel Wells, which aimed to use the Blue Cat Cafe as a set location. The group opposed the filming because it would "disrupt" the neighborhood and highlight a business that is "under community boycott,” according to the Facebook page.

The cat cafe's landlords, F&F Real Estate Ventures, also own the controversial next-door property off East Cesar Chavez, where piñata store Jumpolin was demolished in 2015. It’s currently being used as Blue Cat's parking lot. Members of Defend Our Hoodz felt that Blue Cat Cafe defied the wishes of the community by opening despite the opposition.

On Sunday, there were about 20 to 40 protestors outside of the Blue Cat Cafe, chanting with signs, and things began to get physical. The publication reported:

The protesters, with bandanas covering their faces, carried signs and shouted obscenities and accusations at the store’s owner, Rebecca Gray, and others inside the building. Tensions came to a boiling point almost immediately when protesters arrived and scuffled with supporters of the Blue Cat Café. One confrontation left a man bloodied, witnesses on both sides said.

At one point after Austin police arrived, officers used a stun gun during an arrest of a female protester, spurring angry shouts and slurs. Two protesters were eventually charged with aggravated assault, evading arrest and interfering, according to Austin police officials.

The film crews never appeared.

This isn’t the first time protesters descended on Blue Cat Cafe. Its opening in October 2015 was met with people who opposed the cafe, chanting "Save East Austin." A year later, someone vandalized the cafe, spray-painting "Fuck you gentrified scum" on its door and food trailer, as well as gluing the main doors shut. Defend Our Hoodz, which held a protest that same day, said it wasn't involved.

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