BBQ business selling pro-LGBTQ shirts (standing for Liberty, Guns, Bible, Trump, and BBQ) sell out despite backlash

A food truck owner faced backlash after advertising a T-Shirt that said, "I support LGBTQ. Liberty, guns, bible, Trump, BBQ." (Photo: Facebook)
A food truck owner faced backlash after advertising a T-Shirt that said, "I support LGBTQ. Liberty, guns, bible, Trump, BBQ." (Photo: Facebook)

A food truck owner in Williamstown, Kentucky faced backlash for selling a T-shirt advertising his business on social media; however, the additional attention has caused the controversial swag to sell out.

Bell's Smokin' BBQ owner, Jamie Smith, shared a photo of the shirt on the business's Facebook page on Thursday, and the message quickly went viral. The shirts in question read, "I support LGBTQ: Liberty, Guns, Bible, Trump, BBQ," and people weren't just offended because 'BBQ' does not start with the letter 'Q' and that's not how acronyms work.

“Simple BIGOTRY...sad commentary for business good luck going broke!" one person wrote on the since-deleted post. Ariel Lewis, a local resident, told Wave 3, "Wearing that shirt is [f***ing] offensive," and that she has plans to never try Belle's Smoking BBQ.

Smith told The Courier Journal that the post resulted in "about 30" threatening calls, a local church canceling its order for an upcoming festival and negative reviews on the BBQ joint’s social media pages after the Louisville Fairness Campaign shared the shirt on its Facebook page.

"The first thing I thought when I saw it was what a bad idea," Chris Hartman, the Louisville Fairness Campaign director, said. "What a bad business model, to automatically isolate not just a segment of your potential customer base, but all of their family and friends."

Eventually, the original post on Belle's Facebook page was replaced by an apology message.

"Belle's Smoking BBQ apologizes if we have offended any groups, organizations or individuals with our shirts. We respect all belief and lifestyles and want no ill will towards anyone," the post read. "We know each person has their own thoughts and beliefs but we are hurt that the people 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."

Plenty of people in the community — and beyond — have also voiced their support for the BBQ business. In fact, according to Smith, all of his shirts have been sold out and they're currently in back order. "I am from Austin Texas and I want one of those shirts. Got I have a 2X because I love barbecue too," one person shared on Louisville Fairness Campaign's post. "So much for freedom of speech. I’ll take 2 shirts," one wrote on Belle's apology post.

“At the end of the day we have to stand for what we believe in and like I said if I offended anyone that wasn’t our intention but it was just a play on words," Smith said.

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