North Carolina coffee shop on the rocks after misogynistic owners outed as podcasting, blogging red-pill enthusiasts

Self-described "alpha males" Jared Rutledge and Jacob Owens' shop may not survive after town learns they're PUAs

Scott Eric Kaufman
September 23, 2015 12:48AM (UTC)

It's one thing to have swallowed "the red pill" in a small town in which your pick-up artist (PUA) exploits are likely to become general knowledge, but it's another thing entirely to be an "alpha" on the prowl who also writes a blog and does a podcast about his conquests -- especially after they become general knowledge.

That is precisely the situation that two PUAs -- Jared Rutledge and Jacob Owens -- find themselves in after Ashevilleblog published an article (based on information gleaned from an anonymous blog) about the owners of Waking Life Espresso and the online accounts of their exploits at Holistic Game and a Twitter account by the same name.


It's not surprising that the West Asheville community is protesting and boycotting the coffee shop -- especially the female members of it, who learned on Twitter that they're not human beings so much as "an endless supply of hot young pussy," or that "there are no 'special' girls," merely "cool ones and lame ones." The lames ones, according to the Holistic Game blog, "could help themselves immensely by reading a few classic novels and working out a little [but] they get attention regardless, so the motivation to better themselves isn’t present."

Rutledge and Owens will learn a lesson in personal betterment the harshest way possible -- by potentially losing the business they've invested so much in if the boycotts against it are successful. It's only fitting that their business should suffer, however, given that they used it to pick up women, as all of the "Business" listings on that site indicate. "I met her in my business and we fucked a few times before she decided she wanted something serious and ended it," reads one of many accounts.

In an apology posted on Waking Life Espresso's website Monday, Rutledge and Owens acknowledge that "many of you are very angry right now" and that "that anger is justified." The pair have "said terrible and demeaning things -- things that belie unhealthy thought patterns that do not contribute to a stable and equal society."


Why did they share these "unhealthy thoughts" with the Internet? Insecurity, of course. "Most of my life I’ve struggled with insecurities around dating," Rutledge wrote on pastebin. "I felt like, in the past couple years, that I’d finally gotten a handle on this and experienced more success. So I made a twitter, blog, and got Jacob to podcast with me."

Owens' apology was more polished, in that he at least acknowledged that "[o]f course I am sorry to be caught, not for my consequences, but that these women will now listen in horror and shame to me recounting intimate experiences we shared."

It's unclear whether their decision to temporarily close the coffee shop will allow the co-owners to weather this storm, especially when over 3,000 people in the small community have already signed a petition demanding local businesses stop stocking Waking Life's iced coffees.


For those concerned about the plight of the baristas who worked for Rutledge and Owens, commenters on Waking Life Espresso's Yelp page indicated that the Asheville coffee shop community is doing what it can to make sure they will be gainfully employed at an establishment not owned by belatedly apologetic misogynists.

[H/T Laura Beck, Prachi Gupta]


Scott Eric Kaufman

Scott Eric Kaufman is an assistant editor at Salon. He taught at a university, but then thought better of it. Follow him at @scottekaufman or email him at

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Related Topics ------------------------------------------

Jacob Owens Jared Rutledge Misogyny Mras Puas Waking Life Espresso

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