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Eugene donut shop receives backlash over viral video of owner confronting homeless woman – The Register-Guard

A west Eugene donut shop has come under fire after a video went viral that shows the owner throwing water toward a homeless woman while she was sitting on a sidewalk near the business.
The video was taken the night of Oct. 22 by Dizzy Dean’s Donuts owner Dean Weaver as he walks to the southwest corner of his building to the woman and then turns the camera away as he throws the water. The video does not show what the water hit.
The clip posted to Reddit on Saturday, two weeks after the incident, has over 6,700 comments and hundreds of thousands of views. Most comments condemn Weaver, calling it inhumane to throw water at night on a woman trying to stay warm.
This woman probably cried all night while shivering in the cold while you laughed with your friends and denied your soul screaming, ‘You did wrong,'” one commenter wrote.
While the majority of the responses online have been outrage, it has shined light on the experiences of people who are homeless and how others can react to them.
In an interview with The Register-Guard, Weaver said he filmed the video, but denied throwing the water on the woman. He said he threw it on a small fire behind her.
“You’re not putting fires around here,” Weaver shouts in the video after throwing the water.
“You dumped water all over me,” the woman shouts later in the profanity-filled, one-minute video, before Weaver responds, “Yes.”
“I don’t even have any (expletive) clothes to change into,” the woman says.
In an interview Monday, Weaver said, “I wish I handled it differently” and looked at how close the fire was before throwing the water.
“I wish I had taken a flashlight out there and saw what was going on and had a better idea of where everything was,” Weaver said. “I assumed the fire was further away from her than it was.”
He could smell and hear the fire crackling from his business, he said, before he walked over to put it out.
“I’m not that kind of person who would throw water on anybody regardless of the situation,” Weaver said.
Asked if he thinks some water got on the woman, Weaver said he didn’t see and couldn’t tell because of the lighting. The fire does not appear in the video.
Over the years Weaver said he has thrown water on fires started by homeless people near his business five or six times. Weaver said he films throwing the water to prove to police later how the interactions go in case someone lies about how he acts.
On some occasions a man has thrown burning material at Weaver, he said. Weaver said he views the small fires as a threat and worries about the possibility of people breaking into his bakery and causing damage.
“I don’t know where the fire-starting is going to go,” Weaver said. “Are you going to try to break in that business back there and start a fire? … This is my livelihood.”
Stop the Sweeps, a Eugene advocacy group focused on helping the homeless and defending them from having encampments cleared, described the video as a “dystopian example of the inhumanity that unhoused neighbors face on a daily basis in Eugene.”
“Weaver could have offered this woman a hot beverage to drink, instead he poured a bucket of water over her on a frigid night; that could have lead to hypothermia and her death,” the group said in a statement Monday.
Weaver said he thinks a disgruntled ex-employee fired the same day the video went online was the original poster.
Some of the reactions created by the video included a fraudulent Instagram page created with the name Dizzy Dean’s Donuts, which is not connected to the business, Weaver said.
Another local donut shop got caught in the backlash. Bizzy Jean’s, a different donut shop in Springfield, reported it experienced a spike in angry messages due to the similarities in their names, and distanced itself.
“We are similarly concerned with what we saw and hope that that our customers here in Springfield will not associate us with his actions,” Bizzy Jean’s said in a Facebook post.
The Eugene Police Department received a report of a video just before 5:40 p.m. Saturday, which department spokeswoman Melinda McLaughlin said showed a homeless woman having water thrown on her.
Several officers tried to locate the woman based on her clothing but she has not been identified, McLaughlin said. Patrol and investigations officers were still investigating, she said. Criminal charges would not be considered unless they located the woman, McLaughlin said. Police are seeking tips on her whereabouts, she said.

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