MINNEAPOLIS — A popular Minneapolis nightclub has closed after much of its staff quit amid an uproar over the owner’s donation of $500 to former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke’s 2016 U.S. Senate campaign.

The backlash erupted last week after the Minneapolis weekly City Pages revealed that Club Jager (YAY’-gher) owner Julius Roman contributed to Duke’s failed bid for a U.S. Senate seat in Louisiana. Several employees quit; some regular performers canceled standing gigs. Managers closed the bar Thursday.

De Roma told WCCO-TV his donation was “basically free speech” and that the controversy had been blown up beyond what it should be.

A Chinese restaurant in Santa Cruz, California, closed its doors after 40 years in business last week amid the backlash over revelations that its owner also donated to Duke.