Forget boycotting for bigotry — can you boycott a business owner for being dumber than a sack-o-hammers?


Tod Kelly

Tod is a writer from the Pacific Northwest. He is also serves as Executive Producer and host of both the 7 Deadly Sins Show at Portland's historic Mission Theatre and 7DS: Pants On Fire! at the White Eagle Hotel & Saloon. He is  a regular inactive for Marie Claire International and the Daily Beast, and is currently writing a book on the sudden rise of exorcisms in the United States. Follow him on Twitter.

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47 Responses

  1. Avatar Pavel Lutskovsky says:

    ah, yes, the ever admirable “I am cool with people being mistreated, so long as I can also make money off them” argument, all while building a natural food store near a New Seasons. good luckReport

  2. Avatar zic says:

    Did you see the store’s website?

    You may be aware that the media has been asking questions about the personal opinions of the owners regarding gay marriage and freedom of expression. We understand that this is a sensitive topic for many. We would like to reiterate our position that we will not discriminate against anyone in any form. We support diversity and anti-discrimination in all business practices. As a gesture of goodwill we donated $1,000 to the LGBTQ Youth program of the Equity Foundation in Portland. This program supports safe communities for LGBTQ individuals where sexual orientation and gender identity should not be the basis for social alienation or legal discrimination. We encourage others to make additional donations to this worthy cause at: Equity Foundation
    While we understand that we may not share the same viewpoints on all issues, we support freedom of expression and freedom of speech. Our beliefs are not necessarily shared by our employees; their beliefs are their own, as it should be. The employees are a diverse group of people working together with a common goal to simply provide good nutritious food to the Portland community and support local farms and vendors.


    • Avatar Tod Kelly says:


      * the sound of the barn door closing long, long after the horses have leftReport

      • Avatar zic says:

        I was just glad to see that the local Equality Foundation got a grand out of the deal. That’s good stuff.

        I hope you’ll keep us posted on how things go.Report

      • Avatar zic says:

        Actually, before you killed your series, we had a pretty interesting discussion on realignments and alliances.

        This is one I see that’s been in the works for a while; the gmo-organic food movement and the liberal left. Lot of the farmers are Christian, evangelical, and pretty conservative about social tradition; their customers are Prius-driving college educated liberals.

        Joe Salatin of Polyface Farm is probably the most famous because he’s written several books and was featured on the Omnivores Dilemma.Report

      • Avatar greginak says:

        There have always been a lot of conservatives in the back to nature/health food/crunchy grouping. The stereotype of them as all liberal hippie types has always been funky. Plenty of people have the Mother Earth News stacked along with Guns and Ammo next to their bibles.Report

      • Avatar Shazbot9 says:

        Yeah, environmentalist-nature-hippy and righty-nature-survivalist are sometimes confused for each other. Each can sometimes pass into the world of the other unnoticed.

        There is also the right-wing-nut-good-health-nut (often an avid exerciser) who can easily and incorrectly be assumed to be a hippy, despite being the opposite.Report

      • Avatar J@m3z Aitch says:

        There is also the right-wing-nut-good-health-nut (often an avid exerciser) who can easily and incorrectly be assumed to be a hippy, despite being the opposite.

        Can we punch them anyway?Report

    • Avatar Mo says:

      Indulgences never go out of style.Report

  3. Avatar LeeEsq says:

    Darwin in action. Everybody with a slightly functioning brain and average observational skills should know that Portland is a very liberal city. It might not be on the People’s Republic of Berkeley level but more openly liberal than most American cities. If your a resident of Oregon than this should be even more obvious. I really can’t comprehend why a business owner would be think that making radically homophobic comments would be tolerated by the people of Portland.Report

    • Avatar Damon says:

      True dat!
      The entire wet side of the pacific northwest is liberal. East of the Cascades used to be where you found the conservaties and libertarians. OFC my data predates the influx of wineries, etc. on the dry side.Report

  4. Avatar NoPublic says:

    One can only hope that after it tanks some lovely gay married couple will buy the place and run a co-op market out of it.Report

  5. Avatar Michelle says:

    Perhaps she thought her Facebook musings would be private because she published them under the pseudonym, Lynn Brice. In all fairness, it seems like the guy who outed her with a five-minute youtube video went out of his way to track her down and shame her.

    Really, she should know better. Nothing’s really private if you put it on the Internet. Publishing under a fake name won’t provide all that much protection if somebody’s really determined to find out who you are. It seems like she was trying to state an opinion she knew that folks in the neighborhood where she was opening her store would find deeply troubling and get off without any consequences.

    That said, I’m not sure that the outrage generated is in proportion to the crime. It’s kind of like the Duck Dynasty thing. In that instance, red neck Evangelical expressed views about gay marriage derived from his religion and likely homophobia. Here, Mormon hick expresses views about gay marriage derived from her religion and likely homophobia. It’s not exactly surprising. How badly do we want to punish the people who hold them? I’m not sure the media circus fits the crime or does anything to advance the cause.Report

    • Avatar Michelle says:

      Here’s a link to an even more bizarre piece Chauncy wrote:

      Apparently, Satan is a communist while G-d is a capitalist.Report

      • Avatar Saul DeGraw says:

        Is she a Mormon?

        Tod, does Portland have a huge Mormon population? Do they often feel isolated by the general liberalism of the city?

        I’ve only spent three days in Portland but some of my observations were interesting. Possibly wildly off-base though.Report

    • Avatar dhex says:


      “Really, she should know better.”

      when i would do media training for doctors who “really wanted to be on twitter” and the like, i would literally make them repeat this line:

      “the internet is forever and it has no mercy”

      (it mostly worked)Report

      • Avatar zic says:

        ha, and now it can be eternal.

        I’m sorta bummed about this, I’d been thinking of writing a short story about some sort of social struggle over the rights to internet content abandoned by people due to their deaths.

        (On Ravelry, the social media site for knitters and crocheters, this is sometimes a problem. People sell patterns there, and after they die, the stuff just sort of hangs; nobody to accept payment via paypal, and nobody with the rights to discontinue the sales mechanism or provide pattern support.)Report

  6. Avatar Saul DeGraw says:

    Head meet deskReport

  7. Avatar Jesse Ewiak says:

    BTW, according to Rod Dreher, this is just more evidence liberals are the, I mean, gays are the real bigots and we’re on the way to Christians being treated like blacks during the Jim Crow era.Report

    • Avatar Tod Kelly says:

      Where? I don’t see it at AmCon.Report

      • Avatar Mike Schilling says:

        Here, for example, where he calls the boycotters the “Portlandia Sharia Squad” with no trace of irony and bemoans the fact that “Brendan Eich is not allowed to run the company he helped found”. You know, I helped found a couple of companies but never got to run any of them. Thanks a lot, Obama!Report

      • Avatar Jesse Ewiak says:

        Also, here ( and here (

        Ironically, he fully supported the Catholic diocese in Louisiana saying they wouldn’t do business any vendors who did business with Planned Parenthood.Report

      • Nob Akimoto Nob Akimoto says:

        I don’t see how anyone can think Dreher is anything but a bigot.Report

      • Avatar Shazbot9 says:

        I disagree, Nob. I think Dreher is also a Christian in addition to being a bigot.Report

      • Avatar North says:

        Isn’t Rod just religious?Report

      • Nob Akimoto Nob Akimoto says:

        He’s religious in a way that tries to reinforce and reaffirm his prejudices.

        Anything regarding say Gay Rights, or poor people shows how steeped in bigotry his views are with a gloss of pretentious piety attached.Report

      • Avatar zic says:

        @nob-akimoto It certainly appears that way; particularly when he calls people who take action against perceived discrimination the “Portlandia Sharia Squad.”Report

      • Avatar DRS says:

        I don’t think Dreher is a bigot but he is deeply frightened of quite a few aspects of modern life: gay marriage (he says he’s in favour of civil unions but that “their side” weren’t willing to compromise and insisted on marriage), black people with their scary music (see an earlier Tod post about culture where I posted a Dreher link), the Sexual Revolution (it’s amazing to the point of hilarious how many social issues both domestic and foreign can be blamed on women having access to birth control). And when he’s frightened he says silly, hurtful things that I can’t believe he’d say to co-religionists or people he’s friends with. You can feel the panic coming off his posts like heat waves. Kind of sad, really.Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq says:

        DRS has the right interpretation of Dreher. When you have a lot of social change, your also going to have many people that are simply unable to cope with it. Some of them have a particular image of the world and want things to stay the same forever. Others simply feel overwhelmed by the change or out of place for a variety of reasons and can’t adjust. I’m in my thirites and I feel out of place with certain social changes at times so its not an unfamiliar feeling. Dreher is a bigot but not an unusual one.Report

      • Avatar j r says:


        I think that is the definition of a bigot.Report

      • Avatar veronica dire says:

        Yeah. Bigots are as bigots do.

        Funny thing, however, I kinda agreed with him in one of those links, the one where he talks about folks turning on the business owners calling for moderation. Which is bullshit.

        I mean, look, I would refuse to do business with that store, exactly because I don’t support people who hate me. On the other hand, among those who do not hate me, some differences must be allowed. In this case, where some other business owner, who is evidently perfectly fine with queers, says, “Hey folks, maybe step back and think,” this is not a sign of terrible queer-phobia nor a lack of solidarity. It is an ally working to shape the community.

        And this is one stupid store run by a lady with little power. Myself, I’m perfectly happy to see her business fail (and it seems it has), but we should not tear down our own community making that happen.Report

      • Avatar DRS says:

        JR: “I think that is the definition of a bigot.”

        Well, not really. I don’t think Dreher is a hater, he’s just terribly terribly afraid. He’s almost too naïve to be a bigot, it’s like listening to a child repeating horrible stereotypical things he’s heard adults say.Report

      • Avatar zic says:

        A bigot is not a thing; it’s a set of actions.

        Dreher may not be a ‘hater,’ but his actions and words definitely rise to the level of bigotry; no matter if they’re rooted in hate, fear, malice, or his presumptions of righteousness.Report

      • Avatar j r says:

        Children get the benefit of the doubt precisely because they are children. When adults consistently say bigoted things, chances are they’re just bigots.

        Take this example of Dreher’s work (from here:

        On Thursday, Matthew and I were driving in Baton Rouge, and stopped at a red light next to a young black man, maybe 23 or so, driving a Chevy Caprice with expensive rims. He was dressed ghetto, had his windows down, and was playing his hip-hop music extremely loud, because as we all know, everybody wants to know what he’s listening to. It was amazing. We sat at the red light for 30 seconds or so, and the song he was listening to was an uninterrupted stream of “nigga” this and “nigga” that, except when he was saying f**k, d*mn, or sh*t.

        It was like a Klansman’s idea of degenerate black culture. But there it was. This young man was filling his mind with it.

        “That guy hates himself,” I told my son. “Listen to that.”

        When I got to that last line I literally burst out laughing. If I had just taken a drink, I would have done a legitimate spit take.

        There’s really only two possibilities here. Either Dreher is in possession of such omniscient powers of observation and analysis that he was able to see straight into the soul of this young man during the 30 seconds they were stopped next to each other at a traffic light or he’s a garden variety bigot who is more than willing to pathologize another human being’s fairly innocuous behavior. Of course, since I don’t know Dreher personally, I cannot say for sure which it is.Report

      • Avatar veronica dire says:

        I often try to explain this to folks: bigotry/transphobia/sexism/etc. is what happens to me, and while the person’s motives and intentions matter to some degree, either way their actions can make my life crushingly difficult.

        I want to flourish, I want to thrive. And that’s damn hard sometimes.

        So when I explain this to people, there is a sort who says, “Holy crap, I didn’t think of that. I’ll try to change my behavior.”

        And then there is the other sort, who when I explain this to them they dig in their heels and double down. They ’splain to me, or say crappy things, or anything else that carries the message, “Ain’t changing for you, no way, no how.”

        It really does not matter much to me if that latter sort of person feels like a bigot.Report

      • Avatar Chris says:

        @DRS, bigotry and hatred are not coextensive. It’s possible to be bigoted without hate. Really all one really needs is a sense of superiority or group-based indifference (which probably amounts to the same thing).Report

      • Avatar DRS says:

        Chris: you got a source for that or did you make it up? Because it’s kind of a weak-tea definition that’s going to rope in a lot of the population.Report

      • Avatar Chris says:

        DRS, some definitions include hate or intolerance, some just superiority. However, within social psychology, prejudice and bigotry are not thought to require hate. In fact, in that literature there is something called “benevolent sexism,” which is basically a sense of superiority that leads men (and women!) to do nice things or compliment women in such a way that highlights their perceived weakness, irrationality, etc.

        And as several people, including myself, have said on these threads: if you want to deny rights to a group of people, you are pretty much a bigot by definition.Report

      • Avatar North says:

        If it helps Merriam Webster says a bigot is a person who is obstinately or intolerantly devoted to his or her own opinions and prejudices; especially : one who regards or treats the members of a group (as a racial or ethnic group) with hatred and intoleranceReport

      • Avatar Jim Heffman says:

        “there is something called “benevolent sexism,” which is basically a sense of superiority…”

        see also “the soft bigotry of low expectations”.Report

  8. Avatar Brother Elder says:

    As a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, and as a Moreland Resident, my fellow church members Brother & Sister Childs have made it impossible for us to support a fellow church member, now if we were seen coming or going through their front door, using a shopping bag with their logo, etc. we will be just another stereotypical bigoted Mormon in our neighbor’s eyes. Brother & Sister Childs do NOT speak for all members of the church, unfortunately they ARE the majority and make it very difficult for the rest of us church members.

    We have sat down and spoken with each of our children, outlining they have a choice to either patronize this store or not… but with each set of actions there are consequences. They are now free to make their own choices as they have free agency to do so just as Brother and Sister Childs have their free agency and are feeling the consequences.

    I’m so thankful my Mormon Bishop Father, BSofA Silver Beaver Award Recipient, and Chief Union Steward for the Pipefitter/Welders left his children with a very good example to follow: He always said “Check your beliefs at the door” and Religion/Politics discussions alient and divide family and friends fare more than they ever bring them together.Report

  9. Avatar Mitchell Young says:


    “having or revealing an obstinate belief in the superiority of one’s own opinions and a prejudiced intolerance of the opinions of others.” [you can look it up]

    I think that pretty much sums up the amen chorus here. Indeed, at least one commenter is a violent bigot (or plays one on the internet).Report

    • Avatar North says:

      Please do expand on that in detail.Report

    • Avatar Jesse Ewiak says:

      Oh hey, M_Young. Got tired of Dreher’s comments for a day and decided to show up here like you showed up at LGM? Go ahead, regale everybody here how we accomplished so much more as a nation back when it was mainly white people.Report