Culture

Gay Bar Removes Pro-Police Flag, Donates to Group Tying Them to 'Black Genocide'

Facebook screenshot of three flags flying over Nellie's Sports Bar in Washington, D.C.

Nellie’s Sports Bar, a gay bar in Washington, D.C., put up a “Blue Lives Matter” flag by mistake, following an event with LGBT police officers in March. After an intersectionality nonprofit called foul and blamed the bar for “supporting state sanctioned black genocide,” the bar took down the flag, apologized, and even honored the nonprofit with a donation.

“Boycott nellies, trash a** establishment supporting state sanctioned black genocide,” Instagram user s1unltd posted with an image showing the Blue Lives Matter flag — an American flag with one stripe in blue as opposed to white.

No Justice No Pride (NJNP), a D.C. nonprofit organization that aims “to end the LGBT movement’s complicity with systems of oppression that further marginalize queer and trans individuals,” posted his picture with more text attacking Nellie’s. NJNP emphasizes the diversity of its members — “black, brown, queer, trans,” etc. — and declares that “there can be no pride for some of us without liberation for all of us.”

“Nellie’s Sports Bar is cancelled,” No Justice No Pride flatly declared. “In the wake of the murder of Stephon Clark and non indictment of the officers who killed Alton Sterling, they have the audacity to fly a flag that tells us they don’t value Black Lives,” NJNP continued. “This is anti blackness.”

Nellie's Sports Bar is cancelled.In the wake of the murder of Stephon Clark and non indictment of the officers who…

Posted by No Justice No Pride on Friday, March 30, 2018

While No Justice No Pride did not explicitly use the words of s1unltd, by posting his photo with the text blaming Nellie’s for “supporting state sanctioned black genocide,” the organization effectively blasted the gay bar as a party to black genocide.

NJNP even associated Nellie’s with the white nationalist protesters in Charlottesville, VA.

Blue lives matter flag: who wore it best?Nellie's Sports Bar or the White supremacists in Charlottesville?

Posted by No Justice No Pride on Friday, March 30, 2018

In opposing the Blue Lives Matter flag, NJNP took up the banner of Black Lives Matter, a movement protesting the killing of black people by police officers. Black Lives Matter activists have protested many wrongful deaths and a few cases in which police were arguably justified in their actions.

In particular, No Justice No Pride mentioned the death of Stephon Clark last month and that of Alton Sterling in 2016. Last month, an investigation determined the police shooting of Sterling was justified.

Black Lives Matter protests have ranged from peaceful to violent. Some have involved the destruction of personal property in cities like Baltimore and Milwaukee.

In response, many pro-police Americans launched the Blue Lives Matter movement, a counter-protest emphasizing the bravery of police officers who risk their lives in fighting crime.

Less than a day after NJNP attacked the bar, Nellie’s pulled down the flag, apologized, and pledged to donate money to the very organization that tarred them by associating them with “black genocide.”

“This weekend, all of us at Nellie’s learned an extremely important lesson,” the apology post began. “At the end of this week, a group of LGBT police officers were meeting at Nellie’s to gather in a welcoming space. This happened to fall just as we were taking down our Irish flag for St. Patrick’s Day, and we opted to welcome them with what we thought was just a flag representing the police.”

Shortly after raising the Blue Lives Matter flag, the bar heard “that this flag is also used to undermine the work of the Black Lives Matter movement, and we promptly removed it,” Nellie’s explained. “We in no way meant to state that we are opposed to the Black Lives Matter movement.”

“We now understand that flying this flag — at this point in time, in particular — was at best tone deaf, and at worst offensive,” Nellie’s continued. “We sincerely apologize to our customers and our neighbors for this egregious mistake, and want to assure you that this flag will never fly at Nellie’s again.”

“We messed up. There is no excuse,” the gay bar concluded. “Thank you for teaching us this important lesson. We want to make this better — so we will be sending a donation to No Justice No Pride, and recommitting ourselves to learning more every day.”

This weekend, all of us at Nellie's learned an extremely important lesson. At the end of this week, a group of LGBT…

Posted by Nellie's Sports Bar on Saturday, March 31, 2018

No Justice No Pride thanked people for calling Nellie’s and acknowledged the flag’s removal, but did not thank the gay bar for removing the flag — or even for the promised donation! (As of April 10, NJNP said it had not yet received any donation from Nellie’s.) Instead, NJNP seemed to reject the explanation that Nellie’s did not know the meaning of the flag, and interpreted the episode as proof of racism.

“Based on the fact that this flag was even flown in the first place, and the backlash to this apology from certain members of the LGBT community, our work is still cut out for us,” NJNP said in a follow-up Facebook post.

Nellie’s Blue Lives Matter flag is no longer flying.Thanks everyone who let Nellies know what’s up.Based on the fact…

Posted by No Justice No Pride on Saturday, March 31, 2018

Many commenters did attack Nellie’s, asking if the gay bar “hates cops” and noting offensive Black Lives Matter chants against police officers. Hateful chants like “Pigs in a blanket, fry ’em like bacon!” do not represent all Black Lives Matter protesters, but some protesters have chanted such slogans, and Black Lives Matter is indeed controversial, just like Blue Lives Matter.

A slight balanced support for both, rather than a rejection of one and championing of the other, would arguably be the wisest way forward for a business.

It is particularly concerning that Nellie’s took such a pro-Black Lives Matter stance that actually attacked Blue Lives Matter, and that NJNP did not even have the grace to thank the gay bar for its surrender or its donation. Businesses should take note that caving to the Left’s social pressure does not result in grateful acceptance, but a slightly lessened grudge.

Since Nellie’s is a gay bar, its clientele might skew liberal, but from the Facebook response — and from the fact that the bar just had an event with LGBT police officers — it seems an anti-police stance will alienate people as well. If businesses do cave to social pressure, they should not swing to alienate the other side, because groups like NJNP will not actually help them.