News (USA)

Massachusetts restaurant gets hate mail & support for hanging a rainbow flag

rainbow flag, pride flag
Photo: Shutterstock

Bonefish Harry’s, a taco and tiki restaurant in the Massachusetts towns of Beverly and Lynn, has received hate mail and messages of support after it decided to hang a rainbow flag outside of its establishment.

One letter in particular, allegedly sent by an anti-gay former patron named Owen Donaldson, read:

Dear Owners,

Since you opened, my wife and I have enjoyed several meals at Fishbone Harry’s, have received gift cards for other meals and have had family meals there with some of our children and grandchildren.

Imagine our disappointment when we saw a rainbow flag hanging outside your restaurant. It means, simply, that we will not be patronizing your eating place again because you have chosen to publicly support activity which is immoral (against the “good” for human activity).

Why not keep your options on political issues to yourself? You have no Christian flag, no Italian flag, no Beverly High School banner to suggest pride in these groups. Does this mean you are against Christians, Italian-Americans or high school students? In the absence of flags or political statements, our only concern was whether you food offerings were good for their price. Last time we visited, they were.

But now you have made a political/moral statement supporting sexual behavior that half of America declares immoral. Why would you purposely choose, from a business perspective, to possibly alienate half of your potential customers? Why have you chosen to declare your morality on this question alone? I see no evidence of other “Month of June” issues that you are celebrating. Why would you ignore, say, Father’s Day or African-American Music Appreciation Month?

The issue of homosexual behavior has been considered by thoughtful people since nearly the beginning of time. The vote of history has always been clearly against this behavior; human biology renders it absurd. Are you thinking you have found a new virtue?

My hope is that you’ll give more thought to the question and take down your flag. Perhaps then we will reconsider Bonefish Harry’s as a restaurant instead of regarding it as a misguided “virtue-signaling” establishment.

Owen Donaldson
Beverly, MA

The author’s reasoning is deeply flawed. Supporting one community doesn’t automatically imply disdain for all others, 70 percent of American support LGBTQ rights (not half), many world cultures throughout history have been accepting of homosexuality (including ancient Greece, “the birthplace of Democracy”) and biology has shown that gay relatives lower competition for heterosexual mates and help care for the young.

In response, the restaurant replied in a public Facebook post:

To all of our loyal guests, today we received this letter declaring our restaurant immoral for hanging a Gay Pride flag from our restaurant in support of our fellow humans for Gay Pride Month. We consider this letter an attempt to bully us to remove our flag and to slander our business. We will not stand for this type of behavior and will never give in to these types of unaccepting bigoted people. We will always stand side by side with everyone in our community! We will continue to fly this flag and we are proud to show our support for all our community members!

Most of the comments left on the restaurant’s Facebook post have been supportive, but Towleroad reports that some people are questioning the letter’s authenticity since the press hasn’t been able to locate an Owen Donaldson who lives in Beverly, Massachusetts.

The restaurant wrote, “We are aware that there are people questioning the validity of the letter, the author and whether our restaurant had written this letter. We have no idea who Owen is or if he really exists. We 100% did not write this letter or know who did.”

Bonefish Harry’s has also since announced that it will soon sell a rainbow tie-dyed shirt and donate 100 percent of the proceeds to North Shore Alliance of GLBTQ Youth, a local organization for LGBTQ youth.

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