Yes, this happened in 2018
Duke University fancies itself an esteemed academic institution. But recently, the world has learned that the same school that’s harbored loathsome individuals like alt-right racist Richard Spencer, disgraced current Missouri governor Eric Greitens, and notorious basketball troll Grayson Allen is simply no place for Young Dolph lyrics.
Late last Friday, two employees at Joe Van Gogh, a regional coffee shop with an outpost on Duke’s campus, were asked to resign. As first reported by area alt-weekly Indy Week issue stems from an incident on May 4th, in which Duke University VP of Student Affairs Larry Monetta objected to the lyrics in the Young Dolph song “Get Paid” off his 2016 debut album King of Memphis. Monetta made his objections with Dolph’s lyrics known to barista Brittni Brown, a black woman, who apologized profusely, turned off the song, and offered to give Monetta his vegan muffin free of charge. Monetta passive-aggressively insisted on being charged before presumably storming off in a huff.
The fallout was swift. Brown told Indy Week she got a call from Joe Van Gogh owner Robbie Roberts within ten minutes of the incident, after he was tipped off by Duke’s director of dining services. Brown told that on Monday, both she and Kevin Simmons (who was also on staff at the time, but who never spoke to Monetta), were pushed to resign by Joe Van Gogh. The decision was made despite the absence of any previous complaints about either employee, as well as any stated company policy about what music should or shouldn’t be played.
“They pretty much said that Duke wanted them to terminate us, and that there was nothing that they could do and that their hands were tied," Brown told The News & Observer.
Word of the incident has sparked widespread condemnation and on-campus protest, with Duke students reportedly blasting Dolph’s track outside Monetta’s office.
Even Young Dolph weighed in on the controversy his lyrics caused, tweeting “Whoever that VP is, he don’t give a dam [sic] about nobody but his self... I guess he was trying to teach the students how to be selfish I guess.”
So far, the negative attention thrust upon Duke and Joe Van Gogh has led to a round of apologies on both sides, with JVG owner Robbie Roberts admitted “we should have taken a different approach in making personal decisions.” For his part, Moneta stated “it was never my intent that any of the Joe Van Gogh employees be terminated,” adding that “If my actions in any way lead to their dismissal, I apologize and hope that the JVG management consider ways to reinstate their employment with the company.”
It’s unclear if any action beyond the apologies has or will be taken, as Joe Van Gogh has made clear that its personnel decisions are a private matter. But let this be a lesson to any other elders who don’t know the difference between Lil Pump and Lil Wayne: next time you don’t like what you hear in a coffee shop, it’s probably best for everyone involved if you just take your vegan muffin and move on.