San Diego's Dirty Birds Facing Online Backlash After Allegations Of Onsite Suicide From Years Ago

January 19, 2021

San Diego's Dirty Birds chain of chicken wings restaurants is receiving online backlash in the form of negative reviews that contain allegations that ownership refrained from closing a location following a suicide of an employee on the property dating back to 2017. 

The Yelp page for Dirty Birds Bar & Grill in San Diego's Pacific Beach is currently being monitored for unusual activity following multiple one-star reviews that accuse ownership of remaining open for business after an employee's body was found on the property of the bar. The Yelp reviews referencing a suicide taking place onsite of the beachside restaurant began on Saturday, January 15, 2022, but the incident in question actually took place several years ago. There is also a Reddit thread discussing the death with commenters explaining the issue was revived recently through a social media post on TikTok, which was posted on January 14, 2022, by user @cassafrassassass.

The General Manager of Dirty Birds Pacific Beach sent the below statement in response to our request for comment:

"In response to the TikTok video regarding Dirty Birds, I wanted to come forward and give the true events of that very tragic day," wrote General Manager Marlee Becker. "On August 17, 2017, nearly four years ago, our dishwasher was discovered in a locked utility closet outside in the alley. We open our establishment every morning at 11 am. I got there early that morning and was doing work in the office. Staff came and began working as any other day. We opened at 11AM. It's a Thursday. At 12:30, the body was discovered by me. I immediately call 911, and then I call the owners. There were a couple tables inside the restaurant. We close them out. We do not take new tables and the door is then locked. No one working or otherwise was subjected to seeing the body as it was not inside.

By this point the owners have arrived. We all wait for EMT, police, coroner, etc. then the body is removed. We've notified family etc.

It's hard to understand the situation if you weren't there. The employee claiming that the owners are just greedy is blatantly untrue. There are many people who know the owners personally who can attest to their character. Let me list a few examples of how selfless these two humans are.

During the early Coronavirus pandemic, when their businesses were forced to close and they were literally not making any money, they chose to donate thousands of dollars of food to local hospitals and first responders. FOR MONTHS. They donated food from March through July of 2020. I have stacks of thank you cards in my office thanking them for their generosity.

In addition, there have been many other community events they've been a part of. Every year they hold fundraisers and send donations to send kids from Rady's children's hospital to Disneyland. They work with Make- A- Wish foundation, PMP Warrior Foundation, and many others.

They run many charity golf tournaments and other events throughout the year.

There are literally hundreds of other examples I could list, but instead everyone is buying into one girl's story of the events from one day.

I know from experience working with these people since 2011, that they are the most selfless, kind hearted and compassionate people who do not deserve to see their businesses and names being dragged through the mud on the internet."

Dirty Birds founders Jon Ollis and Adam Jacoby opened the restaurant’s original location in Pacific Beach in 2008, followed by a second in 2015 near the college area of San Diego State University. The third branch of Dirty Birds debuted within Liberty Station in Point Loma in December 2016. In 2019, Dirty Birds launched its 4th location within Ocean Beach Plaza. In 2020, the 5th area location of Dirty Birds sports bar and grill opened on the University of California San Diego campus in La Jolla in the space that housed Round Table Pizza for almost three decades. Dirty Birds also rolled out a food truck last year.

"We are very saddened by the recent video on TikTok with misleading information and the many disappointing comments from individuals on social media outlets who don't know the facts from that tragic day nearly 4 years ago," read a statement issued to us by Dirty Bird founders Jon Ollis & Adam Jacoby. "The allegations that the restaurant was open and operating after this discovery is absolutely false. There isn’t a day that goes by without thinking about individuals struggling with mental illness. We will continue to pray for Kevins family, his loved ones, and anyone else struggling with suicidal thoughts." 

According to the liquor license for Dirty Birds Pacific Beach, the restaurant is currently owned by B4 Entertainment LLC, and company information lists Leigh Gibson and Jonathan Ollis as Officers and Stockholders. Mr. Gibson has stated that he has not had anything to do with company operations since 2015.  

If you or someone you know has a mental illness, is struggling emotionally, or has concerns about their mental health, there are ways to get help. Use these resources to find help for you, a friend, a co-worker, or a family member.