A Texas bar is facing backlash after its owners were caught promoting gay work discrimination.
According to the Dallas Voice, Redfield’s Tavern in Dallas, Texas is the focus on controversy after word go out about the work discrimination. An audio recording was posted online that has the establishment’s owners, Joe Tillotson and Scott, telling the general manager named Lindsey to not hire gay people because their business is not a gay bar.
“We are not going to try to be a gay bar to keep our business up,” said Tillotson on the tape, according to the Dallas Voice. “And I see it in the people that we are hiring. I see it (unintelligible) and it is very concerning to me because we are going to fail if, if, I don’t normally talk like this [with managers and staff] … because it gets complicated and there’s far more reaching implications than (unintelligible, something about sales).”
He then went on the say, “We have 30-something investors … We did not tell them we are going to be opening up [a] gay bar. So, so, there’s one thing. For us to decide that we’re going to try to do that, there’s nothing wrong with any customers [unintelligible, possibly said nothing wrong with customers being gay] at all. But what’s happening is …”
The general manager, to her credit, tried to dissuade these homophobic sentiments from her boss by stating she hired people for their skills.
“I feel like we’ve hired people that are qualified more than anything,” she told them. “Because we needed better service. We got better service.”
After the owners persisted, the general manager asked them how they wanted to proceed. The other owner then responded by saying, “We get female servers.”
The general manager then noted that “if the gay crowd gets wind that we don’t like gay people, we will have NO business.” The owners then said they’d fire any future employees who don’t “fit their image.”
Unbeknownst to the owners, the conversation was recorded and the audio tape made its way online. The news then spread through social media. According to Central Track, LGBTQ people and allies across the city have called for a boycott of the establishment. Plus, at least one former general manger quit her position with the business in response to Tillotson’s words.
“It’s really disappointing and disheartening,” said LGBTQ Dallas resident Dallas Law to the Central Track “And not just from a sense that in we are in 2020 and these things exist. It’s even more so this was a place where an entire community flocked to, and it felt like it was a safe space. It became a modern-day, neighborhood Cheers for us — an we really had no idea this was the way that ownership felt.”
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Due to the Coronavirus pandemic shutting down several popular gay bars in the city, many LGBTQ residents flocked to Redfield’s Tavern as their new watering hole. But now many of those new frequenters are left feeling betrayed.
“You would’ve never imagined that’s the way the ownership felt by knowing the servers, bartenders, and general manager,” Law says. “Everyone, from the beginning, was so welcoming and inclusive. We made friends with the staff that worked there. It’s really sad to not only think about the members of the LGBT+ community working there, but just those individuals who won’t stand for it — and now they’re without a job.”
In response to the online backlash, Redfield’s Tavern deleted its Facebook page. Following that, an imposter page appeared in its place. This new social media page directs Facebook users to the Dallas Voice article.
Then, former patrons of the bar organized an event called Redfield’s Tavern Funeral on October 23 Event goers appeared at the establishment and spent no money on alcohol. Instead, they tipped the servers.
As Jose Hurtado, the event organizer, said in the event description, “Just tip the servers, they always supported us.”