I don’t typically write about politics here on Texas Yankee. This is the first such post, and while I can’t say it will never happen again, I don’t anticipate doing so very often.
On Friday, New York passed its historic marriage equality legislation, becoming the sixth and largest state — plus the District of Columbia — to open the institution of marriage to same-sex couples.
While much of the population was celebrating this step forward in our nation’s ever-advancing civil rights struggle, the folks over at San Antonio’s own Brown Coffee Company were taking to Twitter with apparent bitterness, tweeting the following:
BrownCoffeeCo No human law can ever legitimize what natural law precludes #SorryFolks #NotEqual #WhyBother #ChasingAfterTheWind #SelfEvident.
The tweet itself was bad enough, but the string of nasty hashtags following it made things ever so much worse.
As one might expect, BCC came under intense fire from the Twitterverse for its bigoted and homophobic comments. The heat has been so intense that the company has locked down its Twitter feed — permission is now required to view it — and its Facebook page is shut down. All social networking links have been removed from its website. Clearly, they are running scared over at BCC.
Yesterday, their widely touted and celebrated alliance with RBC Coffee in New York City came to a very public end when RBC posted to its Tumblr blog that “it doesn’t stand for intolerance and bigotry,” and “therefore we will not be doing business with The Brown Coffee Co. anymore.”
Today, BCC offered a questionable explanation on its company blog. The explanation smacks of after-the-fact rationalization and fails to address the lasting impact of their statement. Even if we grant the premise of their explanation, it is an insufficient response to the situation they have created.
Why? Because this is precisely the kind of comment that make organizations like The Trevor Project and the “It Gets Better” project necessary. For those who are unaware of these projects, click here and here for more information. LGBT adults can handle this kind of vitriol — we’re used to it and we can de-personalize it. Our LGBT youth are another matter altogether. Brown Coffee Company’s comment — and others like it — contribute to the higher-than-average rate of suicide among LGBT youth as compared to the overall youth population. For this alone, they must be held accountable.
The company’s “apology” by way of its explanation is, of course, the first step. But a simple apology alone will not suffice. The bell has been rung and it can’t be un-rung. The comment lives forever on the internet. No, they must take concrete action to counter the damage of their remark.
I suggest penance in the form of a sizable donation to the Trevor Project. Let them provide resources to help stave off yet another teen suicide that might have been triggered by their tweet. Given the price of their products and the apparent success they are enjoying, I would expect this donation to be in the four- to five-figure range, but only BCC can decide what they can afford. They would do well to note, however, that the sincerity of their apology is likely to be judged by the size of their donation.
UPDATE 6/28 7:00 p.m.
Brown Coffee Company has issued a formal apology on their website. It reads:
“We at the Brown Coffee Company would like to issue a formal apology for a hurtful Twitter post that was put out on our company’s Twitter profile. We want to say for the record that everyone in this small family company is deeply regretful of all the offense we have caused everyone in this situation. We are truly sorry to have offended all the people we have offended. That kind of awful bigotry, hatred and slander has never been and will never be something we believe in and/or post and we are sorry to anyone who has seen this.
That Twitter post was contrary to everything we have strived to be as a company: one that enjoys life and enjoys people, regardless of personal beliefs. Those in the community who know us personally know that we are not hateful, spiteful, bigoted, intolerant people.
Thank you very much for giving us the opportunity to tell our side of the story. We humbly stand before anyone reading this and ask for your forgiveness for all the terrible things this stupid Twitter post has become and for all the offense it has caused to good people.”