Companies drop Actual Brewing due to sexual harassment allegations against former CEO

Local News

Weiland’s Market has joined other companies that say they will no longer support Actual Brewing due to allegations of sexual harassment against its former CEO and founder Fred Lee.

Jennifer Williams and Scott Bowman, owners of the grocery store, issued a statement saying they removed all remaining Actual Brewing beer from their shelves and plan to donate money from beer sales to the YWCA in addition to $1,000 the store is already donating to the organization.

“As a company–and personally–we have zero tolerance for this kind of unacceptable and egregious behavior. Based on the circumstances, we wanted to more than “just” stop selling this beer,” Williams and Bowman said in a statement.

Williams and Bowman applauded the women who came forward with allegations against Lee, who has been accused of sexually harassing women.

Weiland Market is also joined by Women Have Options Ohio and Columbus Ale Trail, who previously announced plans to stop doing business with Actual Brewing.

The allegations against Lee formally came to light when Natalie Phillips filed a police report as well as a complaint with the equal employment opportunity commission after she says Lee made multiple sexual advances on her and sexually inappropriate comments. 

With three locations, Ohio based Actual Brewing Company employs 37 people. 

When Lisa Watkowski started there in 2017, she was going through a divorce. 

“I was a sales rep,” she said. 

Shortly after the job offer, she says Actual Brewing founder Fred Lee made another one.

“It was alot of offering to relieve frustrations or suggesting one of the brewers is cute you guys should get together in the brewery,” she said.

Watkowski clarified what frustrations he meant. “Sexual Frustrations.”

 She left the company after just 6-months because she said he crude comments came daily. 

“Pretty regularly. Pretty regularly. Yeah daily,” she said. 

And she’s not the only one. 

Weiland’s Market’s statement comes days after, a self-described statewide abortion fund also released a statement that says, “Women have options Ohio is officially announcing that we will no longer partner or accept support of any kind from Actual Brewing Company while Fred Lee is at or benefitting from the organization.”

Columbus Ale Trail, a local buyer’s reward program with local brewers, also released a statement stating, “We take the allegations against Actual Brewing founder Fred Lee very seriously and have decided to remove Actual Brewing from the Columbus Ale Trail.”

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