BBQ business taking heat for LGBTQ shirt

By Mariah Medina - Digital Journalist

WILLIAMSTOWN, KY - A barbecue joint in Kentucky is getting flack for selling apparel that repurposes the acronym LGBTQ, which is widely understood to stand for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer or questioning.

The acronym emblazoned on Belle's Smoking BBQ merchandise stands for something different: liberty, guns, Bible, Trump and BBQ.

The owner of the barbecue establishment, Jamie Smith, told WXIX-TV he's been serving up the 'cue for three years and now the shirts are getting more attention than the food.

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"I posted the shirt today for new swag and it just went out of hand and it got blown up," Smith told WXIX-TV.

The post, which contained information on how others could purchase the shirt, went viral and received mixed responses. One person replied, "Simple bigotry. Sad commentary for business. Good luck going broke!"

Smith subsequently deleted the post, replacing it with an apology that read, in part, "We apologize if we have offended any groups of people, organizations or individuals with our shirts. We respect all beliefs and lifestyles and want no ill will towards anyone."

One Kentucky resident, Ariel Lewis, told WXIX-TV that the shirt was "offensive," saying that while she hasn't patronized the restaurant she now has no plans to because of the shirt.

Zach Walters, however, told WXIX-TV that "everyone believes in something different," and if he sees the food truck, he'll stop by and get food.

Despite the apology, Smith said he will continue to sell the shirts.

"At the end of the day, we have to stand for what we believe in, and like I said, if I offended anyone, that wasn't our intention, but it was just a play on words," Smith said. 

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