BBQ food truck owner slammed for advertising t-shirts twisting the LGBTQ acronym
A BBQ joint in Kentucky is facing backlash for selling T-shirts mocking the LGBTQ acronym, with the message on the merchandise reading, "I support LGBTQ: Liberty, Guns, Bible, Trump, BBQ."
According to CNN, Jamie Smith, the owner of Belle's Smokin BBQ in Williamstown, faced heavy criticism after advertising the T-shirt on the restaurant's Facebook page with a caption, "We are going to stock up on some swag. Hats and shirts. We are going to have our traditional Belles shirts, trucker hats. We will also have our LGBTQ shirts as well as Belle's logo on the back."
Unsurprisingly, the reworking of the acronym, which stands for Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer, did not go down too well with the online community, who quickly bombarded his restaurant and his page with bad reviews.
Smith eventually did take down the post and wrote in an update on April 18, "Thank you all for your comments and your polite phone calls. This wasn't intended to offend... It's a simple ACRONYM THAT'S ALL," though it did little to placate the mob.
"But here's the bottom line, it's not just a simple acronym," one Facebook user wrote on the post. "GLBTQ are already waking up every day with a mountain to climb in terms of acceptance. The last thing we need is a food truck mocking us."
Another wrote, "Simple BIGOTRY... sad commentary for a business...good luck going broke," while a third commented, "As a Kentucky business owner, you've chosen poorly. You've just alienated at LEAST 50% of your customers. If you choose to be outspoken in your politics, know that your business could suffer consequences. It's just not worth it. Remember this. Democratic and Republican dollars spend the same."
However, there were also those who felt the ones in the previous category were overreacting. "My LGBTQ friends would wear this shirt and we would all have a good laugh... We all love each other... Today you can "fake offense to anything," a user wrote.
"I love it. I'm tired of all this PC BS. We have the 1st and 2nd amendments. Don't go to the restaurant if it bothers you. I wish I lived closer I'd go every day. When did the USA turn into such sensitive idiots? I think I'm going online to get one," a second wrote, while another posted, "I love the t-shirt. Wish I could get one. Don’t give in to the overly sensitive snowflakes and pc police."
On April 19, Smith posted another apology that included how he felt about the negative reactions to his t-shirt. "Belle's Smokin BBQ apologizes if we have offended any groups, organizations or individuals with our shirts," he wrote.
"We respect all belief and lifestyles and want no ill will toward anyone. We know each person has their own thoughts and beliefs but we are hurt that people who are saying 'stop the hate' are the ones coming at us with the harassing messages and threatening phone calls. Again we apologize for any hurt feelings and thank our supports who truly know us."
But the t-shirts were still up for sale, with subsequent posts including information on how one could go about contacting Smith to place their orders. He later revealed he had been selling the merchandise for two years, but only recently advertised them in a bid to boost sales.