The Columbus man who appeared in a viral video shot by a Muslim woman in an Atlanta coffee shop, claimed on Facebook that she “accosted” him in the incident, according to published reports.
Rob Koehler has since apparently taken down his Facebook and Twitter pages, but a screen grab taken earlier from his Facebook page and published by the London Daily Mail includes a photo of the inside of the coffee shop and claims that the woman, Asma Elhuni, was not even in the photo.
“I thought it was really a neat atmosphere and I was going to share it on Facebook,” Koehler wrote. “Asma Elhuni then accosted me for simply taking a picture. Her radical friends then started contacting me and telling me they were going to kill me.”
Koehler also apologizes to “all my friends, family, colleagues, clients and vendors.”
“I could’ve handled the situation better,” Koehler wrote. “I will get better and be better from this experience.”
“Thank you Asma. I have learned and I will grow from this experience,” he wrote.
A person who answered the phone Monday at Computer Service and Network Center in Columbus, listed as Koehler’s employer, declined to answer any questions and abruptly ended the call.
In the video, Elhuni, 39, is sitting in an Atlanta coffee shop when Koehler takes her picture with his smart phone.
Elhuni, who wears a hijab, is videoing the encounter with her phone when she asks the man why he is taking her picture.
The man sits down near the woman and explains that he thought someone famous was in the shop and he thought it would be “chill” to come in, take a picture and put it on Facebook.
“But then you start acting like a bitch,” he says.
“Oh, so now I’m a bitch … because I asked you why you were taking my picture?”
Then the man leans in toward the woman and asks her if she has a green card.
“Do I have a green card?” she asks. “Do you think I’m not an American?”
Elhuni is reportedly an American citizen, a political science graduate of Georgia State University and works for a state legislator’s office.
As she is saying that, another man comes up, apparently a friend, puts his hand Koehler’s shoulder and persuades him to leave. As Koehler turns to leave, the other man is facing the woman, smiling.
“This is your friend? I’d be ashamed,” the woman said, before turning toward Koehler, who is opening the door to leave.
“Bye,” she says cheerfully.
After posting her video on her Facebook page, it received 90,000 views in just a few hours.
“Really what I wanted to show him was, one, what he did was inappropriate, and two, I’m not afraid of you,” Elhuni told Creative Loafing in Atlanta. “Because did you see how he sat down and got in my face? I knew my weapon was my camera.”
The venue where the situation took place, Joe’s East Atlanta Coffee Shop, addressed it on their Facebook page with this post:
“There is a video floating around on Facebook of an encounter with one of our dear customers and a man saying horrible things to her. We DO NOT condone such behavior and are, frankly, disgusted by it. Joe's is a welcoming place, a SAFE space for people of all races, colors, and sex, ETC. If you are ever in our store and feel threatened or uncomfortable please tell a staff member. PLEASE remember to love people and show kindness always.”