On Thursday, a Kentucky food truck owner came under fire after advertising the sale of t-shirts that read: "I Support LGBTQ. Liberty, Guns, Bible, Trump, BBQ."
In a now-deleted Facebook post, Belle’s Smokin' BBQ shared a photo of someone wearing the shirt, with the caption:
We are going to stock up on some swag. Hats and shirts. Let me know what y’all want via text message. We are going to have our traditional Belle’s shirts, trucker hats. We will also have our LGBTQ shirts as well as Belle’s logo on the back. For those who said (wtf).
Shortly after the post went up, The Fairness Campaign, headed by Chris Hartman, shared the above screenshot, asking their followers how they felt about the LGBTQ tee.
The post has more than 600 comments. While some commenters have asked how and where they could purchase a shirt, and questioned why people are offended, others have expressed contempt:
"I posted the screenshot on their page and asked for an apology. Theres some goooooooood bbq in Kentucky, it's so easy not to go to one that mocks the LGBTQ community. Bye, Felicia."
"How can I order one? I’m being serious. I love this shirt."
"I didn’t know about this place 5 minutes ago, and now I’m definitely never eating there."
"The shirt needs burned and who ever designed it needs fired if employees with the restaurant. Hope their business fails."
After the post went viral, Belle’s Smokin’ BBQ pulled it and issued an apology:
Belle’s Smoking BBQ apologizes if we have offended any groups, organizations or individuals with our shirts. We respect all beliefs and lifestyles and want no ill will towards anyone. We know each person has their own thoughts and beliefs but we are hurt that the 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 supporters who truly know us. Copyright 2019 WXIX. All rights reserved.
However, it appears that the shirts are still for sale. The food truck’s Facebook page uploaded the following post just over eight hours after their apology:
According to the Courier Journal, food truck owner Jamie Smith said that members of his staff had been wearing the shirts for more than a year prior to the backlash that was ignited by the viral social media post. He also stressed that the shirts weren’t intended to offend.
Following the post, Smith claims that he lost a food order from a local church, but gained multiple new orders. The owner also alleges that he’s been the recipient of more than two dozen "threatening" phone calls.
Fairness Campaign’s Chris Hartman told Courier Journal that to alienate part of one’s potential clientele seems like a poor business decision, and that an apology should only be the starting point: "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."
Speaking with The Daily Wire, Hartman added: "It’s not an apology if you’re gonna print a back order of t-shirts that were the offensive point to begin with."
To those who would argue that the shirts shouldn’t be taken so seriously, Hartman said that "hijacking an acronym that’s not just about the community, but about the identity" of a "marginalized community," is "inappropriate, and sends a clear message, especially to young people, that LGBTQ is something to be ridiculed."
After a mini review bomb, Belle’s Smokin’ BBQ has suffered a Facebook ratings decline. It currently sits at 3.4 out of five stars.
The Daily Wire reached out to Jamie Smith for further comment, but as of publication, we have not received a reply.