PITTSBURG, Texas (KRLD) — An East Texas restaurant is receiving unique backlash on social media after a waitress told a gay couple not to return, making a homophobic remark in the process.
Using Yelp and Google reviews, online activists are trying to make Big Earl’s Bait House and Country Store in Pittsburg seem like one of the highest rated and most recommended gay bars in Texas.
One Yelp review reads, “this place is great… you can really let your freak flag fly here.”
Another reads, “I’m a dude. I like dudes. And I appreciate a place where dudes can hang out together in dude-company.” A comment that is in obvious reference to the sign on Big Earls Restaurant that states, “Welcome to Big Earls, where men act like men and women act like ladies. No Saggy Pants.”
Collin Dewberry says he and his partner had just paid their check when their waitress approached them on the way out.
“And that’s when she said to us… ‘to put it plainly, we don’t serve fags here’.”
“I think the restaurant better learn to adapt or they will probably have to close their doors soon,” says Kyle, who identifies himself as a gay man.
He and others in the Dallas LGBT community are planning to make a road trip to Big Earl’s.
“I think it’s a fantastic idea and I’ll be there,” says Gary Burns. “There’s no reason not to just go and embrace those people and to love them and hug them and say ‘hey, we’re human beings too’.”
And Big Earl’s restaurant says they’re ready for them.
“If there’s any problems, they will be taken care of appropriately,” says Christina Cheney, who is Big Earl’s daughter and the waitress who made the homophobic remark. “We are aware that they are attempting to come out here. We’re ready for them; we have informed the Sheriff’s department and the state.”
And while Big Earl’s says they have received an influx of new customers since news came out, they should expect a new crowd in Pittsburg, especially with reviews like this from Bubba on Yelp:
“Well, the food isn’t all that good, but this is still the best gay cruiser joint in Texas! I’ve picked up several dates there. All are very handsome, very gay men. I hear the owner offers discounts to men in chaps.”
Cathie Adams President of the Texas Eagle Forum says she’s disgusted by the protest.
“I think that for the homosexual community to be targeting a restaurant and good people is ugly, it is uncalled for.” Adams says, “They’re pushing an envelope and they want to not only have tolerance – they want to shove things down our collective throats.”
She say she would never broadcast her personal life in public. “As one who has been married for 45 years to my husband, I don’t think that it’s my role to stand in the street corner and start talking about the style of private life my husband and I have.”
But Michael Diviesti with Equality Texas thinks the protest will only do good.
“It’s pretty ingenious in what its doing. It’s both raising awareness and taking the message of acceptance and love and intolerance and inserting that instead of being negative against Big Earls.” says Dieviesti, “They may end up getting less business because of these online reviews but who really knows. But the fact is that it’s awesome because people are hearing our stories and people are seeing what’s going on now.”
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