A BBQ food truck in Kentucky is in hot water after selling shirts with a misguided LGBTQ message.
Belle’s Smokin’ BBQ is located in Williamstown, Kentucky, and known for their ‘Smokin’ Spuds’. Now, people are talking about apparel they sell rather than the food.
Owner Jamie Smith started wearing the ‘LGBTQ’ shirts over a year and a half ago — and then began selling them. When the LGBTI group the Louisville Fairness Campaign posted about them on their Facebook page, however, the backlash began to roll in.
The shirts are black with words in white: ‘I support LGBTQ: Liberty, Guns, Bible, Trump, BBQ.’
In reality, the acronym LGBTQ stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer/questioning.
The Fairness Campaign’s Facebook post included a screenshot of a now-deleted post by Belle’s promoting the shirt.
They removed the post ‘after #LGBTQ supporters let them know how they feel about their shirt,’ the organization wrote.
Backlash and defense
Smith told the Courier Journal that social media ‘went beserk’ about the shirts. When he deleted the original post, he replaced it with one apologizing to anyone who had been offended.
He defended the shirt, saying they weren’t meant to offend and he had no problem with LGBTQ individuals.
‘It wasn’t intended to single out any individual,’ he said. ‘It takes all kinds to make the world go around.’
Chris Hartman, executive director of the Fairness Campaign, however, disagrees, as the acronym represents the community.
‘The first thing I thought when I saw it was what a bad idea,’ he stated. ‘What a bad business model, to automatically isolate not just a segment of your potential customer base, but all of their family and friends.’
Now he believes action has to be taken, and not just a casual apology.
‘How are they going to be inclusive? Is there going to be a Pride Month barbecue special? The rainbow sliders, or something. At this point, it’s not enough to just say we’re sorry. You actually have to take actionable steps to prove that you’re going to be inclusive.’
Smith is going to keep selling the shirts, which are currently sold out.