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Massachusetts restaurant accused of faking homophobic hate mail

Massachusetts restaurant accused of faking homophobic hate mail

Bonefish Harry's restaurant in Massachusetts

A Massachusetts restaurant made the news after allegedly receiving hate mail for flying a Pride flag. However, it’s now come out that the hate mail was potentially faked.

The letter

Bonefish Harry’s, a taco restaurant in the towns of Beverly and Lynn, shared a hateful letter they allegedly received from a former patron named Owen Donaldson.

‘Since you opened, my wife and I have enjoyed several meals at Fishbone Harry’s, have received gift cards for other meals and have had family meals there with some of our children and grandchildren,’ the letter reads.

‘Imagine our disappointment when we saw a rainbow flag hanging outside your restaurant. It means, simply, that we will not be patronizing your eating place again because you have chosen to publicly support activity which is immoral (against the “good” for human activity).’

‘Why not keep your options on political issues to yourself? You have no Christian flag, no Italian flag, no Beverly High School banner to suggest pride in these groups. Does this mean you are against Christians, Italian-Americans or high school students? In the absence of flags or political statements, our only concern was whether you food offerings were good for their price. Last time we visited, they were.’


‘But now you have made a political/moral statement supporting sexual behavior that half of America declares immoral. Why would you purposely choose, from a business perspective, to possibly alienate half of your potential customers? Why have you chosen to declare your morality on this question alone? I see no evidence of other “Month of June” issues that you are celebrating. Why would you ignore, say, Father’s Day or African-American Music Appreciation Month?’

‘The issue of homosexual behavior has been considered by thoughtful people since nearly the beginning of time. The vote of history has always been clearly against this behavior; human biology renders it absurd. Are you thinking you have found a new virtue?’

‘My hope is that you’ll give more thought to the question and take down your flag. Perhaps then we will reconsider Bonefish Harry’s as a restaurant instead of regarding it as a misguided “virtue-signaling” establishment.’

The response

In response, the owners of the restaurant took to Facebook to release a statement. They shared an image of the letter with the following caption:

‘To all of our loyal guests, today we received this letter declaring our restaurant immoral for hanging a Gay Pride flag from our restaurant in support of our fellow humans for Gay Pride Month. We consider this letter an attempt to bully us to remove our flag and to slander our business, we will not stand for this type of behavior. And will never give in to these types of unaccepting bigoted people. We will always stand side by side with everyone in our community! We will continue to fly this flag and we are proud to show our support for all of our community members.’

Was it faked?

Now, the restaurant is under fire for potentially faking this hate mail for publicity.

Local newspaper Salem News could find no trace of a man named Owen Donaldson in the town of Beverly, Massachusetts.

‘The Salem News attempted to locate a person by the name of Owen Donaldson living in Beverly or on the North Shore,’ the paper reports. ‘But a search of public records, including the city clerk’s resident lists for Beverly and several area communities, property records, available phone listings, social media, and a general search of the internet shows no one by that name living in the area.’

Salem News spoke with Gin Wallace, the executive director of Beverly Main Streets, who was tagged in the restaurant’s Facebook post.

‘I think this is an isolated incident,’ Wallace said. ‘I haven’t seen or heard from any other business.’

The possibility of the letter being fake never crossed Wallace’s mind.

‘I’d hate to have to question the validity of the letter,’ she said. ‘That’s not the point. That’s not what we should be angry or unnerved about. I hope people are focusing on the right message here.’

The restaurant denies the letter being fake

In light of the accusation of the letter being faked, Bonefish Harry’s took to Facebook again to deny this allegation.

‘Facebook world, we appreciate the out pouring of support from everyone near and far. We want to make sure the focus of this is on accepting everyone in our community without bias and prejudgement,’ they wrote.

‘We are aware that there are people questioning the validity of the letter, the author and whether our restaurant had written this letter. We have no idea who Owen is or if he really exists. We 100% did not write this letter or know who did. What we do know is that we support everyone in our community and welcome everyone in our restaurants. Now lets get back to tacos and maitais!’

GSN contacted the Beverly location of Bonefish Harry’s and spoke to a staffer named Amanda who said the restaurant ‘100% had nothing to do with the letter.’

See also

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