To the Community I love,
I write this letter in direct response to an editorial written by Carol Lynne Watson (“Shame on Progress Bar”) that was published in SFGN last week. Among other things, the article states that we towed two cars during a candlelight vigil that was being held at Rumors Bar & Grill.
First and foremost, I would like to start out by saying I am truly sorry if I upset or offended anyone. Like many of you, I moved here in search of a family and community I did not have. It pains me to think that I hurt anyone in the community I’ve worked so hard to be a part of. That was never my intention and I’m incredibly apologetic for that.
Furthermore, I would like to say that I did not know there was a candlelight vigil going on that day. There was no mention of this event on Rumor’s Facebook page, in any magazine, nor did anyone inform us.
We attempted to locate the owners of the cars and have them relocate their vehicles prior to taking that next step. One vehicle owner we were able to locate and notified this person that we would be towing his car if he did not move it. He denied being the owner, when in fact, he was. What would you do?
As Carol Lynne Watson mentioned in her article, we sometimes tow cars. We have about eight signs in the lot stating this lot is for Progress Bar customers only - All Others Will Be Towed. So I have to wonder why people are surprised when it happens.
I began my tenure on Wilton Drive as a server at Alibi. After a lot of hard work and determination I’ve graduated to become the general manager of Progress Bar. I take my job seriously and work incredibly hard. At the end of the day, I was just doing my job and I feel it’s unfair that I am now the target of hate for doing so.
We all know that having parking spaces on Wilton Drive is an asset. I was just protecting that asset, just like every other business on the drive. The world does not stop revolving simply because Carol Lynne Watson thinks it should.
Late last week I met with her in an attempt to fix this situation. Among other topics we discussed a long list of how Progress Bar gives back to the community with our time, money, and resources. I tried to explain to her that from the profits of our family of businesses we’ve created a yearly $26,000 grant for transgender youth as well as donated over $100,000 to multiple gay charities this year alone.
After explaining all of this and much more Carol Lynn Watson’s response was to shrug her shoulders and dismiss it. You don’t have to take my word for it. Stationed behind me was her partner in hate recording the meeting. Go ahead Carol, roll the tapes.
To Carol Lynne Watson:
I question your motives. Let’s be real about it for a minute. You have hated Progress Bar since the day New Moon closed and have used the tragic events in Orlando to further your own personal agenda. Shame on me, Carol? Shame on you for attempting to capitalize on a horrific national tragedy and making it about you. I feel you and others have been waiting in the tall grass for that “gotcha” moment and now you’re going to run with it. You preach of community and togetherness yet you’re the first one to trample all over that. What I did was an honest mistake. What you’re doing is malicious and deliberate. Start taking a page out of your own book.
What happened to the days of journalism where editors actually fact-checked their column inches? I would ask why no one bothered to reach out to us for comment prior to the article going to print, but I already know the answer. Can I give you a bit of advice? There is no you without us. When I say “us” I mean the gay business community. So the next time your publication feels the need to blindly print another “scathing,” fact-less article in a failed attempt to gain more readership, you should think twice. Don’t bite the hand that feeds you. This was not news in any sense of the word.
Thanks for reading,
SFGN does not typically fact check letters to the editor just like we do not fact check comments on our website or social media sites. Readers are free to submit letters to the editor about any topic they wish. We are a community newspaper and one of our roles here is to provide a platform and voice to the community.