Friday, January 27, 2006

Gay Greensboro business owner responds to Graffiti Ads bias in refusing LGBT ad

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A gay business owner in Greensboro has responded to the bias shown in business dealings by Graffiti Ads, a marketing/advertising group based in Winston-Salem, NC (See prior post, Triad company refuses to work with LGBT group; refuses ad for community resources and movie festival). John Johnson, owner of the Biltmore Greensboro Hotel in Downtown Greensboro, wrote this email to Graffiti Ads, LLC, yesterday.:
Dear Graffiti Ads, I just wanted to say how disappointed that I was when I heard that you would not place an ad for Alternative Resources of the Triad (A.R.T.) due to it being a Gay & Lesbian Non Profit group. The reason that you gave was completely absurb for anyone to use. I own the Biltmore Greensboro Hotel and was getting ready to run ads on your spaces across the city but after hearing that you considered A.R.T. to be controversial in subject or graphic presentation I definitely will not run an ad with your company at this point. I have seen the ad that they were wanting to advertise with you and there is no way that any person could have found this to be graphic or controversial. Shame on you for being homophobic. I must agree with the groups responses that have been contacted in regards to your response that you sent back to Alternative Resources of the Triad. The GLBTQA and friends of gay people of Greensboro do most certainly need to start a protest against any company that uses you to do advertising until they remove your ads from their properties and for companies to stop advetising on your bill boards as well. I was wondering if you realized how many gay owned businesses that are in Greensboro that has your little adds hanging in their bathrooms and how many gay businesses actually advertise on the boards. I for one would like to be the one to inform you that the answer is "MANY". With an insult like what you have emailed back to Alternative Resources of the Triad is an insult to many in this city I assure you. Sincerely, John Johnson, Owner Biltmore Greensboro Hotel
While it is true that Mr. Johnson is a member of ART's Board of Directors and serves as its Vice President, his letter to Graffiti Ads, LLC, represents his perspective about the situation as a gay citizen and gay business owner. I think it is absolutely ironic that the ad from ART was deemed "controversial". If the company had just accepted the ad, none of the controversy currently surrounding the situation would exist. Not accepting the ad, I think, has turned out to be more controversial than Graffiti Ads could have ever imagined. Technorati Tags: , , , , , , , ,


Well hopefully this will send a strong message to any business that may choose to discriminate based on sexuality.
Yes... hopefully it will. Beth, thank you for your support in this situation and your post and thank you for your on-going and strong support of LGBT rights.

Discrimination based on sexual orientation is still around, as the situation with Graffiti Ads shows us. As open and as accepting as Greensboro and the Triad may be, this situation shows us that bias and prejudice still exists in this world.
Good going, Matt.

I feel sure we're going to see more of this in the next few days -and that's down to you. No one would have been aware - or in a position to do anything about it - without your blog.
That settles it. I have been confused all these years. Trying to figure it out. Searching. But now I know. I am not a person. I thought I was, felt like I was, but I was wrong. Because no person would find such an ad offensive or controversial. Therefore, since it is settled that I am not a person, I suppose you can do with me as you will, or anyone like me, demean, ridicule, boycot, denigrate, judge, offend, bully, as you so choose, for I am not a person. I am, maybe, a post, a rock, a stone. You may as well call me a nigger, a wop, a bitch, a dyke, a fag, a chink, or any other bigoted thing people call non persons. Because I am not a person. So it doesn't matter. Happy?
posted by Blogger Joel at 1/27/2006 06:18:00 PM  
I don't recall anyone saying that anyone who is offended by that ad isn't a person.

I did say - and stand by the statement - that no one paying any attention to the wider culture, watching basic cable and experiencing secular literature and music should be offended by it. The use of the word "queer" as a self identifier in this context for gay and lesbian men and women is so long-lived and the fact that gay youth groups exist so well established one has to wonder...from where does the offense come, if it's not homophobic?
See the original post

...I have seen the ad that they were wanting to advertise with you and there is no way that any person could have found this to be graphic or controversial....

Since I find it to be controversial, I, therefore, am not a person. So, piss on me if you want, like a dog on a tree, because it does not matter.

O the ironies....
posted by Blogger Joel at 1/27/2006 07:23:00 PM  
I have spoken somewhat graphically above to make a point. There is a condescending disrespectfulness towards these business owners that would NEVER in a month of Sundays be tolerated if dished out in the other direction. Matt does not even have the common decency to talk to them apparently, nor did the other business he got whipped up into a lather. So, it is either agree with Matt's agenda or be bullied and beaten and treated as a non person. Even at a rational level of argument you could at least give some intellectual credit to the people who might be disturbed by what they see going on in the culture regarding this issue. And what, are we supposed to get our moral/cultural bearings by what we see on TV and at the movies? I personally would not have taken the position that the business owners took, even though I find the ad offensive and controversial. And I don't buy the benign explanations. This is full blown agenda driven stuff here. But again, you guys simply don't treat others the way you expect to be treated. By signing on to and cheerleading the above printed letter and Matt's "bravery" in dealing with this business family, you are showing that you have not even a rudimentary respect for people who think differently. People who are or would be disturbed by these ads are neither morons nor bigots nor bad neighbors nor evil business people. This whole chain and much that precedes it day in and day out just shows that the calls for tolerance and respect run one way only. Matt you of all people should know better. I say shame on you.
posted by Blogger Joel at 1/27/2006 08:27:00 PM  
I guess it was the Builtmore owner who who wrote that? I'm looking...ah, there it is.

I think he clearly meant it was unreasonable for any person to come to that conclusion. If that was the case I have to agree.

Books, movies, television and music do not dictate morality...but they do historically tend to mirror a society's mores and values. The word "queer" in this context has passed into the popular lexicon. Groups and people like those to whom the ad would appeal live among us, are featured in our most popular shows, films, music and literature. Therefore it's hard to understand how an ad like this, or acknowledging that people like this live in our community and advertise, is shocking or controversial. I think it'd be hard to argue that those who are aware of the way in which the culture is functioning, how words are used and in what context should have to tiptoe around those who wish it weren't so.

It's not that I (and I can only speak for me) think that people with whom I disagree are not people or do not deserve respect. But when pressure from these people (or, in this case, even percieved or potential pressure) leads a business that states that it is not homophobic to deny services to groups of homosexuals...I have a hard time sympathizing with how shocked and traumatized they might be by the idea of young gay people getting together to go to the movies.