Editor’s Note: In a phone call with Yahoo Lifestyle, Johnny Alcantar said he does not identify as a Trump supporter, and his intentions were never to hurt anyone by attending the rally — it was just a something spontaneous he and his friends did “in the moment,” he said. “We’re all equal. At the end of the day it’s all about loving and respecting one another, and just being vulnerable and authentic, regardless of political views.”
The proprietor of a gay nightclub in El Paso, Texas, is under fire for attending a rally in support of President Trump, then posting photographic evidence on his Instagram page.
Johnny Alcantar — one of five owners of the Old Plantation, locally known as the OP — posted a photo of himself and four friends holding up a “Trump: Keep America Great 2020” flag, touting Trump’s campaign for re-election. The photo was taken at the El Paso County Coliseum, where the president held a rally Monday.
“I’m f***ing disgusted by one of the owners of The OP right now,” the note read. “Y’all, straight people are the first to try to profit off of our community and our art but won’t hesitate to support a man who has called trans people burdens, hasn’t done s*** for community but try to erase us, degraded women and perpetuated racist and xenophobic rhetoric.”
Khalo called for a boycott of the Old Plantation.
“Please share, this deserves to be seen,” Khalo wrote. “We need answers. Don’t tarnish our sanctuaries with your bull**** political ideals. Trash.”
“Well thats a wrap on ever going there again,” agreed a commenter, while another wrote, “As much as I liked that club I’m done and over it.”
But others supported Acantar’s right to express his political views.
“Let the man support whoever he wants to support. … It’s his life!” one commenter said.
“We all make our own choices,” another added.
Alcantar told NBC affiliate KTSM that he attended the rally only to see a sitting president.
“I don’t agree with everything that Donald Trump says,” he said. “But I have to support our president because he’s our current president; I don’t have any other choice.”
Mark Adkins, CEO of the Old Plantation, issued a statement on the club’s Facebook page Wednesday distancing himself from Alcantar’s political views and apologizing to “patrons, members of the LGBTQ community and any other members of the El Paso community.”
It read, in part:
“We want to make one thing as clear as crystal: The Old Plantation Nightclub does NOT support Trump’s views or opinions especially towards our LGBTQ community. The OP was built by and built for the LGBTQ community and everyone should know that.
“We understand the concern and outrage from the community being reflected on social media, and we would like to reiterate that the individual who attended Trump’s rally is, just that, only one individual who is a minor shareholder that owns a small fraction of the company.”
The statement went on to say that the other co-owners had talked with Alcantar about his decision to attend the rally.
“This minority partner is an individual with an open mind and an open heart,” it read. “We have spoken with this individual and he has expressed his regret for posting about the rally on social media and his fundamental lack of knowledge about the ways in which Trump’s administration is working to stifle the rights of the LGBTQ community, as well as the rights of others in the greater El Paso community.”
Adkins clarified that he is speaking as the CEO and majority shareholder in the bar, which he calls “a place of love not hate.”
Yahoo Lifestyle has reached out to Alcantar for comment.
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