So, in the wake of the Indiana Religious Freedom law, a reporter went out and started to ask local businesses if they would still serve gay people.
One small Pizza joint totally bit, saying they would not serve gays.
The internet explodes with this confirmation of what some of us worried was the worst case scenario…businesses putting up “No Gays Allowed” signs.
There were the folks who bought the domain name of Memories Pizza, their Yelp reviews were overrun mock reviews.
Oh, and the threats. Apparently, starting with a person online stating they wanted to know who was going to join them in torching the business to the ground. This was followed by an avalanche of threats via phone and online media. The shop closed up, stating they may not open back up. The family said they might even leave town.
Now, of course, if we dig a little deeper, we find out that they never said they would not allow gays into their store. In fact, they explicitly said they would serve gays. They would not cater a gay wedding, but that is not the worst case scenario, that is the issue we already say at play. I find it troubling if you serve weddings you would deny a customer because they are gay. If I were asked, I would be the wedding videographer for a gay couple’s wedding. But the family that owns the pizzeria did not say they did not want gay s to come in and order pizza or that they would deny gays access to the dining area.
The biggest problem here is the threats. Threats are never okay. I do not care how right you think you are.
Ask any online feminist who has had her personal information spread across the internet, who has received threats of death and rape, not just to themselves but even towards their family. It is never an appropriate response to threaten a person, no matter how much you might dislike their beliefs or actions. All these threats did was cause conservatives to hold it up declaring “See? LGBT supporters are vicious!”*
By going all out to smash one family owned pizzeria, folks created the conservative martyr poster boy. Heck, over $200,000 was raised for the family. All because some jackasses went and freaked the family out.
Due to the talks of not re-opening, Some are acting like this was a triumph of using the free market. Those people do not understand the free market. This is not a triumph. They would be open had they not gotten threats. No, closing because they saw a severe decline in business and could not afford to stay open? That would be the market at work. Making threatening calls, calling down destruction? That is terrorism.
We cannot blow off the threats to Memories Pizza all while being angry at Gamer Gate, because it was gamer gate tactics that may have caused them to go out of business. Gamer Gate is not a problem merely because of who they target for attack…it is how they attack as well. If you were outraged by Gamer Gate, I don’t see how you can pretend this is different.
We can voice our dislike for the pizzeria’s policies on gay weddings. We can recommend people not support them. But you cannot blow off the threats. You cannot say that the threats were not serious…because we do not know. I am pretty confident that most (if any) of the folks that threatened to rape various women online are never going to make good on it. But that does not mean we do not take the threats seriously. It only takes one threat to get acted upon to do harm.
Threats are the wrong approach.
*Of course, totally ignoring all the threats various liberals have received…