Woke Bar Loses Customers Defending Bud Light Transgender Ad Campaign
A dive bar in southern Indiana is begging for more customers after defending Bud Light and booting anyone being ‘intolerant’ following Anheuser-Busch’s partnership with transgender influencer Dylan Mulvnaey.The beer maker has received enormous backlash since the “365 Days of Girlhood” ad campaign featuring custom-made cans featuring Mulvaney’s face. In response, millions of Americans have boycotted Bud Light and other […]
A dive bar in southern Indiana is begging for more customers after defending Bud Light and booting anyone being ‘intolerant’ following Anheuser-Busch’s partnership with transgender influencer Dylan Mulvnaey.
The beer maker has received enormous backlash since the “365 Days of Girlhood” ad campaign featuring custom-made cans featuring Mulvaney’s face. In response, millions of Americans have boycotted Bud Light and other Anheuser-Busch brands.
The Fairfax Bar & Grill in Bloomington, Indiana, however, is now hurting for customers after it hypocritically declared that it supports free speech – except for anyone who criticizes Anheuser-Busch or Bud Light.
“We are tired of all of the hate. We are very open to debate and discussion and it’s truly a shame that we can’t have open conversations about this important political and cultural topic. Bars, in our opinion, exist as public spaces where ideas should be exchanged,” the establishment wrote on Facebook. “Unfortunately due to all of the bigotry and hatred that has surfaced around the Bud Light controversy any patron wanting to voice their concerns about the issue will be immediately asked to pay their bill and leave our establishment.”
The post was featured next to an image of a statement claiming the Bar & Grill welcomes “ALL people,” except those who are “intolerant.”
“We are all aware of the controversy surrounding Bud Light. We support ALL people in this establishment no matter who you are of how you identify. We will continue to sell Anheiser [sic] Busch products because we don’t care who they make special cans for,” reads the statement. “If you are intolerant of other humans of any kind, we ask that you keep your opinions to yourself. Should you feel the need to discuss this matter in public you will be asked to leave. We will not tolerate intolerance here.”
Bar owner McKinley Minniefield told WISHTV: “We were just dealing with a lot of hate speech, and people being uncomfortable. My bartenders were aggravated and we had customers that were leaving.”
“We’re a local dive bar in southern Indiana, there’s a lot of ideas that tossed around here, but I’ve never dealt with anything recently that was so overtly hateful.”
As Fox News notes, however, on Wednesday the bar’s Facebook page posted a follow-up statement to the backlash.
“While the response here has been overwhelmingly positive and supportive, it’s time to reiterate why we took a stand against hate speech. In the last two weeks since sharing a post stating that we will not tolerate intolerance, our social media has been flooded with blatantly transphobic, homophobic and racist comments,” adding “We are all inclusive and welcome all kindhearted customers. After making that post, the comments on every post since include hate speech saying that transgender people are mentally ill, biological women are being erased, and showing a plethora of disgusting memes.”
“Hate speech has no place at The Fairfax,” the statement continues, before admitting that they’re hurting for customers.
“Thank you to all of you for supporting our establishment. With the departure of some of our regulars, we have needed new clientele, and you have answered. I’m not gonna lie, we still need more of you right now,” reads the page. “Please continue to consider supporting us. It’s gonna be a great year of friendship, food, drinks and live music!”
According to his policy, “playing nice” means not voicing an opposing view on this controversy. Yet, being tossed out of the bar is not considered censoring an opinion.
Notably, the ban is not on those who are shouting or engaging in disruptive conduct. It is anyone who “voices their concerns” about the transgender campaign.
Clearly, the bar has a free speech right to set such standards. Heck, we just discussed a bar that faced a boycott from the left over showing a Harry Potter game. It solved the problem with a cringing apology and promising to ban any Harry Potter images. This is not a denial of the right of the bar owner to impose his own views on patrons, but a criticism in how that right is being exercised.
Notably, many of the same people defended the right of players to kneel during the national anthem as an exercise of free speech. Yet, some support this bar tossing out those who express opposing views on the Bud Light controversy. What is maddening is for Minniefield and the bar to do so in the name of free speech.
All businesses and sites face tough choices in what to remove in terms of speech. Many blogs and newspapers like The Hill have now eliminated comment sections because it is too much work to monitor and make these decisions. On this blog, we use a WordPress system to remove profanity. We also remove a narrow range of threatening, doxing, or offensive content. However, we tend to allow a far greater range of speech than most sites, including speech that we find personally offensive and wrong.
The line drawing can be challenging. For example, most would agree that someone using racist or anti-Semitic attacks in reference to another patron should be asked to leave. However, it would be more problematic to toss out someone who is making a comment that is deemed inherently racist or intolerant. Such judgment can be highly subjective and biased.
In this case, the use of transgender advertising campaigns raises a host of issues for customers. I understand how many view this as an objection to the status of Mulvaney and a denial of her identity. However, there remains a major debate in society over the involvement of corporations to push such social agendas. We have to be able to discuss these issues. Indeed, I can imagine no more appropriate forum for discussing the Bud Light controversy than a bar. If a patron becomes loud and disruptive on either side of that debate, the bar has every reason to issue a warning and, if necessary, ask the patron to leave.