Bar That Stood with Bud Light Raises White Flag as Public Turns on It
The Fairfax Bar and Grill in Bloomington, Indiana, which came to national attention for its Facebook posts refusing to drop Anheuser-Busch products in the wake of the Bud Light-Dylan Mulvaney controversy, now appears to be trying to distance itself from the controversy.
The bar had suffered a loss of business because of its stance, and it appears now to be trying to limit its social media posts to those with specific relevance to its business, as opposed to social commentary on transgender issues.
Previous posts — which said things like “We support ALL people in this establishment no matter who you are or how you identify. We will continue to sell [Anheuser] Busch products because we don’t care who they make special cans for” — have all been removed from Facebook.
Almost all of the posts dated April 1 or later that remain on the page have to do with scheduled musical entertainment at the venue, and comments on all recent posts have been locked down to prevent others from raising the Mulvaney issue on the page.
One exception remains: a Thursday post that seems to be an attempt at a final word on the subject and a pivot to the establishment’s actual business model of providing a place for relaxation and social engagement.
“What I really want to convey is this: just be respectful,” the post said. “Different opinions are welcome here as long as they are delivered respectfully. We’d no more want ugly, aggressive or rude interactions about which sports team someone thinks is better, than about societal issues.
“We do not and will not censor opinions, but we do require civility in this establishment.
“So if you can’t play nice, then get out of the sandbox. That goes for everyone! Let’s remember why we even gather at a bar – to enjoy each other’s company – and raise a glass to civility.”
Earlier this week, the bar had appeared to be in financial trouble as a result of its stance on the Mulvaney controversy, resorting to a Facebook plea — since deleted — for more business.
“Thank you to all of you for supporting our establishment. With the departure of some of our regulars, we have needed new clientele, and you have answered. I’m not gonna lie, we still need more of you right now,” the bar said.
“Please continue to consider supporting us. It’s gonna be a great year of friendship, food, drinks and live music!” the bar posted.
Many customers had boycotted Bud Light and other Anheuser-Busch InBev brands following the company’s decision to enlist Mulvaney for a promo last month in which the TikTok star’s face was put on a can of the beer to celebrate his “365 days of womanhood.”
The Bloomington bar jumped into the fray April 11 when it issued a Facebook post telling customers there were limits on what would be allowed in the bar.
“We are all well aware of the controversy surrounding Bud Light,” the post said. “If you are intolerant of other humans of any kind, we ask that you keep your opinions to yourself.
“Should you feel the need to discuss this matter in public you will be asked to leave. We will not tolerate intolerance here.”
After proclaiming that inclusivity meant no criticism of transgender policies, the bar drew national attention.
Media outlets including The Washington Post and Newsweek wrote sympathetic articles about the Indiana establishment’s stance.
Model of tolerance Fairfax Bar & Grill says “any patron wanting to voice their concerns about the [Bud Light] issue will be immediately asked to pay their bill and leave our establishment.”https://t.co/4gRBm0uwAI
— Joseph Toomey (@JosephEToomey) April 26, 2023
Owner McKinley Minniefield responded to the establishment media by claiming his decision had been good for his business.
“As much as I hate to say it, I’m so glad these people are standing up and making fools of themselves so I have a reason to tell them to leave,” Minniefield told the Post last week. “It gives me the ability to create the kind of space of inclusivity that I want.”
When Newsweek got in touch, Minniefield tried to remain upbeat.
“But I feel like every person we lost, we’ve so far gained a couple new people filling those seats every day,” he said. “Time will tell whether or not they’ll stick around and become regulars, too. We’ve seen an increase of people who are open-minded and show support because we took a stand.”
Minniefield also claimed in an interview with WISH-TV in Indianapolis that he had not lost business.
That statement appears now to have been untrue. In a since-deleted Facebook post earlier this week, the Fairfax Bar and Grill admitted that “some regulars have decided to leave and not return.”
The post also said the bar was seeking “a new clientele, along with seeing our kind-hearted regulars.”
The Fairfax Bar and Grill will presumably continue to serve Bud Light to those customers who order it.
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