A Northern Kentucky BBQ food truck caused an uproar with a T-shirt it’s selling with the LGBTQ acronym.
But it’s not ‘lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning or queer’ Belle’s Smokin’ BBQ was advocating. The shirts the food truck sold and later apologized for said: “I support LGBTQ: Liberty, Guns, Bible, Trump, BBQ.”
According to the Courier-Journal, the Williamstown food truck workers have been wearing the shirts for more than a year. But outrage grew Thursday.
Owner Jamie Smith began advertising the shirts Thursday in a since-deleted Facebook post, according to FOX 19. He sold around 100 but removed the post amidst the negative reaction, FOX 19 reported.
Some of the criticism was generated by the Fairness Campaign, a Louisville-based organization dedicated to equal rights. It asked its followers how they feel about the shirt, and people reacted.
“Good way to alienate customers,” Nicolas Tambuyser said.
“Thank you. I’ll be sure to spread the word about not eating at Belle’s,” said Randall Hendricks.
But comments weren’t all negative. Others told opponents to lighten up or asked about buying a shirt.
Chris Hartman, the Fairness Campaign’s executive director, told the Courier-Journal that his organization’s post quickly went viral.
“The first thing I thought when I saw it was what a bad idea,” he told the Courier-Journal. “What a bad business model, to automatically isolate not just a segment of your potential base, but all of their family and friends.”
Dozens of people also left negative reviews on the company’s Facebook page, dropping its rating to a 3.4 out of 5 as of 1 p.m. Friday.
Friday, Belle’s issued an apology, first reported by FOX 19 and later posted on the truck’s Facebook page.
“Belle’s Smokin’ BBQ apologizes if we have offended any groups, organizations or individuals with our shirts,” the food truck posted. “We respect all belief and lifestyles and want no ill will towards anyone. We know each person has their own thoughts and believe 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.”
The food truck will not stop selling the shirts, according to FOX 19. Smith told the station it has sold out of its shirts and has ordered more.