The community of Wilton Manors in Ft. Lauderdale, FL is sprinkled with bars, restaurants and shopping geared to the LGBT community. In times of crisis, communities all over the country like Wilton Manors tend to rally in times of crisis, banding together and knowing that eventually they will come out on the other side. As with most communities, that sometimes is not always the case. This past weekend, local business owner Gary Bouvier was in attendance at Wilton Drive establishment The Pub, and after not wearing a mask on the way to the restroom and being asked to do so by longtime bartender Shane Cullinan, Bouvier spit directly in Cullinan’s face.
Cullinan took to Facebook to address the issue, with his post reading in part;
Cullinan’s words have gravity, as he did lose someone very close to him due to the COVID19 pandemic. “I had one of my best friends pass from this with no preexisting conditions, so it hits home more for me,” Cullinan wrote. The friend he mentioned was Broward Sheriff’s Office Deputy Shannon Bennett, who contracted the virus and died in April. Clearly regretting the incident, Bouvier wrote on Facebook, “I consumed too much alcohol and engaged in out-of-character behavior for which I profoundly regret. I hope that I may demonstrate that one moment of poor judgment does not define who I am. I deeply apologize to Shane.” In the meantime, 7 News Miami reports that Wilton Manors Police continue reviewing surveillance footage of the events of the evening and are submitting evidence to the state attorney’s office.
Cullinan, a favorite in the Wilton Drive nightlife scene and a prominent member of the community has received an outpouring of love and support from his community, many of which are just starting to come return to the nightlife scene in a whole new way themselves. Shane’s post ended with words that many of us can take and utilize as we ourselves start to navigate a new way of socializing;
“Don’t get mad at others because they are trying to protect others. Use common sense. This virus is not going anywhere and the numbers are skyrocketing. It’s up to us to protect our community. Wear a fucking mask and treat your hospitality industry with respect.”