Multiple Portland-area restaurants are the victims of a hate crime after an unknown hacker targeted their restaurants, both of which serve Middle Eastern food. The unidentified hackers replaced the voicemails for both the Southeast Portland Israeli restaurant Shalom Y’all and Beaverton Turkish restaurant Istanbul Gyro, replacing the typical restaurant greeting with expletives, sexually explicit language, and hate speech directed at religious groups.
As Portland-area TV station KGW first reported, the team at Shalom Y’all became aware of the attack Saturday night: A customer alerted the staff to the new voicemail message, which began, “Hi, you’ve reached the stupid Jewish restaurant.” It goes on to reference the restaurant participating in anal sex with employees.
That same night, an “irate man” called the restaurant clearly upset, which Shalom Y’all managing partner Jamal Hassan thinks may have been the result of perceived harassment coming from Shalom Y’all’s number. According to KGW, the hackers used the restaurant’s number to make threatening calls to other Middle Eastern restaurants in Hillsboro and Beaverton.
The team quickly changed the voicemail, but by Sunday the hackers had changed the message again, including homophobic and sexually explicit language like the original. Hassan says no harassment has occurred in person at the Southeast Portland restaurant, and that none of the other John Gorham restaurants — including Shalom Y’all’s other location — have been targeted.
Meanwhile, Istanbul Gyro was also targeted; the new voicemail was similar to the Shalom Y’all’s, though it seemed to target a different religious group. “Hi you have reached the fucking stupid Muslim restaurant,” it begins. It goes on to describe sexually explicit acts in vulgar terms. The owners of Istanbul Gyro are aware of the hack.
Shalom Y’all filed a police report, and Portland police are investigating the hacks and the threatening calls as possible bias crimes, according to KGW. Public information officer Kevin Allen says police “are not far enough into our investigation to say how this hack took place,” but he recommends that “any user that is concerned about this to work with their phone provider to ensure that their voicemail is secure.” Any readers with information regarding this incident, or similarly targeted restaurants, can reach us via the tip line.
• Shalom Y’all [Official]
• Istanbul Gyro [Official]
• Portland restaurant’s phone system targeted in anti-Semitic attacks [KGW]
• Previous Shalom Y’all coverage [EPDX]
• Eater tip line [EPDX]