This is not appetizing, to say the least. One of Pinkberry's original co-founders, Young Lee, was found guilty of beating a homeless man with a tire iron Friday. Though Lee left the company in 2010, he's seen as the brainchild behind the fro-yo revolution. Leenoticed the popularity of "yogurterias" in Italy and launched Pinkberry in the hope that he could kick off a similar craze in the United States —which, obviously, he did. Six years and a lotta dolla later, Lee has been busted for possession of cocaine; beating up his spouse; possession of a loaded, illegal firearm; oh, and hitting a homeless man with a tire iron , until bystanders had to forcibly drag him off the guy.
On Friday, a superior judge in Los Angeles found Lee guilty of assault with a deadly weapon. The beating occurred in June 2011: LAPD officials say that the homeless man, Daniel Bolding, flashed a "sexually explicit tattoo" at Lee, Lee's fiancé, and a couple of their friends when the group was in Lee's car. Lee drove away, then returned with a friend from the car, and started to beat Bolding with the tire iron. He struck Bolding in the head at least twice, and broke the man's arm before witnesses dragged him off. "I think there was a sense of entitlement felt by the defendant to the point where he felt he was disrespected by someone he believed to be below him," said the deputy District Attorney.
Lee's story was slightly different: He and his attorneys claimed that the homeless man had threatened Lee, and that he was sort of defending himself. The judge didn't buy it, probably because Lee hadn't exactly won himself the World's Nicest Millionaire title with all those prior convictions. Lee had been arrested for the beating in January of 2012, and then released on bail. Later, at trial, the judge deemed Lee a "significant threat to the community" — he'd apparently threatened a witness — and stuck him in jail without bail. Lee will be sentenced on Jan. 14, and can face up to seven years behind bars for the crime.
Pinkberry is no stranger to controversy. Early on, the chain had to remove its status as "frozen yogurt" on ads and its Web site because it was pointed out that Pinkberry didn't contain enough bacterial cultures to count as any form of yogurt. In 2008, Pinkberry changed its recipe and the National Yogurt Association gave the chain its renowned Live and Active Cultures Seal (really, that's a thing).
To this day, nobody seems to know exactly what's in Pinkberry, and there are still lawsuits alleging that the chain still doesn't produce anything like yogurt. The FDA doesn't regulate fro-yo, which has led to a lot of speculation about what's actually in in the so-called "Crackberry." Pinkberry has released a statement reminding everyone that Lee is no longer affiliated with the company, but, for whatever reason, people seem to be focusing more on the "beat a homeless man with tire iron" thing.
Image: Abdulla Al Muhairi/Flickr