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This gay bar laid off its entire staff over pride weekend…via Facebook

Via Youtube

Lush, a Minneapolis gay bar, celebrated pride weekend by firing its entire staff in a Facebook announcement.

Like so many LGBTQ establishments around the country, Lush suffered under COVID-19, and had to shutter as part of social distancing regulations. Add to that the civil unrest following the death of George Floyd, and a declaration from bar ownership that it would work to diversify its staff during the closure.

Still, nobody expected the bar to lay off its entire staff. “When LUSH reopens it will be better than ever, with a redesigned concept, a new leadership structure, a reimagined entertainment program, and an enhanced commitment to diversity and equity,” the management said in a Facebook post June 15. “As part of this redesign, all positions across our organization will be re-hired in a transparent and equitable process.”

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That came as a major surprise to bar employees, who, along with a number of patrons, expressed their outrage on the post.

“So you basically just fired all of your employees over a Facebook post?” said Derek Drake. “Wow… f*cking cowards. Clearly you aren’t learning anything from other businesses opening in the community – because plenty are reopening and it’s working just fine for them. Grow a set of balls and learn how to run a better business.”

Related: Customer spits in bartender’s face then flees after being asked to wear a mask at gay bar

Wow what a total lack of class, firing your staff on a public Facebook post?” wrote Angie Brown. “Who thought this was a good idea? Shame on you.”

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Worse, the announcement came after employees drafted a letter to the ownership requesting changes to Lush’s employee practices. Those demands included sensitivity training, a zero-tolerance policy on “inappropriate touching,” and diversification of staff and performers.

48 hours later, Ken Darling, co-owner of the bar, took to Facebook to express his own outrage and regret. Darling claims he was traveling, and that his co-owners James Nelson and Brian Johnston had made the announcement without his input.

“I’m not sure how widely this is known, but I am not an active owner of LUSH;” Darling wrote. “I am not involved in the operations of the business in any meaningful way and have been out of town until a few days ago.”

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“I know that’s not an excuse and I am truly sorry,” Darling continued. “I was led to believe that the staff were on board with the need for a redesign, were fully aware that we would not be reopening anytime soon, knew that not everyone would be called back and understood that we were going to concentrate on building a more diverse staff. I, stupidly, thought this statement was to update the general public, affirming facts and plans that had already been communicated to our staff and performers….I failed to do all those things and for that I am deeply sorry. It was completely inappropriate for LUSH staff and performers to learn of such important developments via a Facebook post instead of being communicated with directly.”

Darling went on to say that he had accepted Nelson and Johnson’s resignations, and that he hopes to find more diverse owners for Lush in the near future. “I have already begun to speak to some people who might help make that happen and hope to have more details soon,” Darling said. “I will continue to update the community as the plans are developed.”

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Indiana Pastor Says it Was Not His Intention to Offend Anyone by Calling Black Lives Matter Protesters ‘Maggots and Parasites’ in Weekly Message: WATCH

Ted Rothrock
Pastor Ted Rothrock / YouTube

An Indiana pastor apologized on Wednesday after calling the Black Lives Matter protesters and organizers “maggots and parasites” in his weekly message.

Wrote Pastor Ted Rothrock, of St. Elizabeth Seton Catholic Church in Carmel, in the message which has since been deleted: “The only lives that matter are their own and the only power they seek is their own. They are wolves in wolves clothing, masked thieves and bandits, seeking only to devour the life of the poor and profit from the fear of others. They are maggots and parasites at best, feeding off the isolation of addiction and broken families, and offering to replace any current frustration and anxiety with more misery and greater resentment.”

Rothrock called on the church to oppose Black Lives Matter and Antifa, the Indy Star reports.

Wrote Rothrock in an apology on Wednesday: “I am somewhat surprised that my recent article has received such extensive coverage and has aroused such interest and debate. It was not my intention to offend anyone, and I am sorry that my words have caused any hurt to anyone.”

“Racial and ethnic bigotries are evils that have been rightly condemned
by the Church and are not to be tolerated,” Rothrock added. “They have never been tolerated by me, and never will be. Life is a sacred gift from God and must be reverenced as such. The institutional sin of black enslavement
had to be removed from our nation at a terrible cost and the damage
has not departed from us. The sin of bigotry has remained a part of the
fabric of our society. This must be rooted out of our culture through
the grace of spiritual conversion in the hearts of everyone. It is the task
of every Christian, and certainly every Catholic, to uphold the Gospel
and the social teaching of the Church. I have always held firm to this
belief and have promoted this teaching at St. Elizabeth Seton.
However, we must also be fully aware that there are those who would
distort the Gospel for their own misguided purposes. People are afraid,
as I pointed out, rather poorly I would admit, that there are those who
feed on that fear to promote more fear and division.”

The post Indiana Pastor Says it Was Not His Intention to Offend Anyone by Calling Black Lives Matter Protesters ‘Maggots and Parasites’ in Weekly Message: WATCH appeared first on Towleroad Gay News.

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Woman contemplates having sex with a married man after her own husband comes out as gay

A woman is contemplating whether she should have sex with a married man after her own husband told her he’s gay, so she’s seeking help from advice guru Stoya over at Slate.

The woman’s letter is long. Like, really long. So we’re going to do our best to summarize it for you…

Basically, she recently got divorced after her husband came out. Since then, she has struck up a friendship with a guy who she met on a work trip last year. He’s married, though, so she never thought of him as a potential love interest. Until he started hitting on her.

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One day, he called to say he would be in a nearby city for a Friday meeting and would like to visit me over the weekend so we could take in some of the touristy things he never gets to do when he’s here on business. I agreed, but I was stunned when, the first night, he suggested we have sex.

Not interested in sleeping with a married man, the woman turned him down but said they could remain friends.

Then, a month later, it happened again.

The next month, he showed up at my house unannounced and uninvited to surprise me for my birthday. He wanted to take me to dinner at my favorite restaurant and was miffed that I already had plans to go there with another friend. I agreed he could stay over and the next day come to the birthday party my family was holding for me. During the days he was visiting, we had a wonderful time, but each of the nights, we argued about having sex. I admitted that if he were not married, I would definitely be interested, but he is married, so I’m not!

That’s when the woman says he started interrogating her about her sex life, asking whether she ever had sex with any of her other male friends, or if she was still having sex with her gay ex.

He questioned my relationship with my ex because we vacation together and insisted we must be having sex even though he knows my ex is gay, which is why we got divorced. This was a side of him I had never seen, and I found it unsettling. The last night he actually came into my room and into my bed and started kissing and fondling me, trying to coax me to have sex. I told him to get out, and the next morning told him we could remain friends as long as he stopped pestering me for sex.

The dramatic real-life novella continues for quite a while longer before the woman reveals that the man eventually told her she doesn’t need to feel guilty because his wife is OK with the two of them having sex, which leaves her wondering: Is he telling the truth or is he just making it up so she’ll agree to sleep with him?

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“The whole situation feels strange and wrong,” she concludes. “I hate to think he would be so deceptive.”

Stoya’s response is much shorter than the woman’s book-length letter. In it, she advises her to run.

“Strange and wrong is right,” she writes. “A correct reading of the situation you’re in. End this connection as soon as possible.”

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She continues, “First this guy tries to have sex with you when it absolutely isn’t appropriate. Then he surprises you and seems put out that you have birthday plans and tries to have sex with you again. Then he grills you about who you might be having sex with, and tries to have sex with you again in a pretty physical manner.”

Stoya adds that how the guy’s wife feels about the two of them hooking up  really doesn’t matter because he’s clearly a creep who can’t be trusted.

Maybe he’s telling the truth. Maybe he’s not. Maybe he’s taking advantage of the woman because he knows she’s in a delicate place after her husband told her he was gay. Who knows? But whatever it is, it’s shady.

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“Really, please, not this guy,” she implores.

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This Is What Racial Trauma Does To The Body And Brain

Racism, injustice and brutality — experienced directly and indirectly — can have a lasting effect on a person’s mental health.

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NYC’s last Black-owned gay bar fights for survival

Alibi Lounge/Alexi Minko via GoFundMe

Alexi Minko, owner of Alibi Lounge, reportedly the last gay bar in New York run by a Black owner, is asking for help to prevent the permanent closure of the bar.

Minko opened Alibi Lounge in Harlem back in 2016. “I fell in love with my neighborhood. I fell in love with my street,” Minko tells Now This. “[But] I walked about 20, 30, blocks, and I didn’t see anything that represented the LGBT image whatsoever.”

Alibi fixed that inclusion problem. Minko created a venue where New Yorkers could feel “automatically accepted, understood, and embraced.”

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With the onset of the COVID-19 outbreak in March, Minko had to close the bar for what he hoped would be a temporary period. He managed to secure a government loan, which, in New York City, couldn’t cover the bills for long.

“All of a sudden, we had no revenue, no income, no activity, and unfortunately, it put a dent on something that was already very precarious,” Minko says. “Running a small business, especially like a bar/restaurant, it’s a lot of work for no money.”

Related: Stonewall Inn lands $250,000 donation to avoid permanent closure

The toll of the coronavirus has, of course, spread all over the world, with major retailers like JC Penny and Pier 1 Imports shutting down for good. Establishments catering to and LGBTQ crowd have been especially hard hit. Across New York, the historic Stonewall Inn has launched crowdfunding efforts to stay afloat.

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Minko has done the same for Alibi. He far exceeded his $6,000 goal, raking in a whopping $50,000. The extended campaign has brought in more than $118,000 to help cover expenses. Alibi has also reopened as COVID-19 restrictions have eased, offering snacks and takeout drinks to patrons.

Still, with states such as California and Georgia reinstating restrictions, the future is still uncertain for LGBTQ venues like Alibi. For Alexi Minko, however, the reward is worth the fight.

“We want to have places where we feel like we can identify with the culture, with the atmosphere, with the sound, with the lights, with the music, with the people that go to these places,” he says. “[The community is] telling you: you are responsible for making sure that the doors remain open.”

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Trump Attacks NYC Mayor’s Plans for ‘Black Lives Matter’ Mural on Fifth Avenue, Calls it ‘Symbol of Hate’ — WATCH

Donald Trump attacked New York City mayor Bill De Blasio’s plan to paint a massive Black Lives Matter mural on 5th Avenue in front of Trump Tower. De Blasio talked about the plan in an interview with MSNBC on Wednesday morning.

Tweeted Trump: “NYC is cutting Police $’s by ONE BILLION DOLLARS, and yet the @NYCMayor is going to paint a big, expensive, yellow Black Lives Matter sign on Fifth Avenue, denigrating this luxury Avenue. This will further antagonize New York’s Finest, who LOVE New York & vividly remember the……..horrible BLM chant, ‘Pigs In A Blanket, Fry ‘Em Like Bacon’. Maybe our GREAT Police, who have been neutralized and scorned by a mayor who hates & disrespects them, won’t let this symbol of hate be affixed to New York’s greatest street. Spend this money fighting crime instead!”

De Blasio responded to Trump: “Here’s what you don’t understand: Black people BUILT 5th Ave and so much of this nation. Your “luxury” came from THEIR labor, for which they have never been justly compensated. We are honoring them. The fact that you see it as denigrating your street is the definition of racism. You also don’t know that NY’s Finest are now a majority people of color. They already know Black Lives Matter. There is no ‘symbol of hate’ here. Just a commitment to truth. Only in your mind could an affirmation of people’s value be a scary thing.”

The post Trump Attacks NYC Mayor’s Plans for ‘Black Lives Matter’ Mural on Fifth Avenue, Calls it ‘Symbol of Hate’ — WATCH appeared first on Towleroad Gay News.

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John Travolta, Ed Henry, Terry Crews, Lincoln Project, Superspreaders, Bush Alums, Houston, KJ Apa, Jennifer Aniston: HOT LINKS

43 ALUMNI FOR JOE BIDEN. Hundreds of former members of the Bush administration launch PAC supporting Joe Biden’s presidential campaign: “We’re looking for the largest conglomerate of folks who want to help, whether it’s writing a check, making phone calls, helping to get out the vote, basic campaign 101. We just feel the time now is to restore dignity to the White House, and the current gentleman is not, so that’s why we’re supporting Joe Biden.”

ROBERT REICH. Trump’s reelection strategy in 25 steps.

DIPSHITTIEST STATEMENT OF THE DAY. Kayleigh McEnany calls Donald Trump “the most informed person on planet Earth.”

BLACK LIVES MATTER. Terry Crews continues to make troubling statements about it: “We must ensure #blacklivesmatter doesn’t morph into #blacklivesbetter”

UNMASKED. Donald Trump Jr. attended party in the Hamptons.

THE PERFORMANCES WERE THAT EXCITING. Glee producers filled audience with dummies.

SUPERSPREADERS. How they are driving the COVID-19-pandemic: “As scientists have learned more about COVID-19, it has become clear that so-called superspreader incidents—in which one person infects a disproportionate number of other individuals—have played an oversized role in the transmission of the virus that causes the disease.”

WE HAVE A PROBLEM. Houston hospitals at capacity: “With novel coronavirus cases in Texas approaching nearly 161,900, hospitals in Houston, the county seat of Harris County, are moving patients to facilities outside the city in a bid to cope with the surge in COVID-19-related cases and lack of beds.”

LINCOLN PROJECT ADS OF THE DAY. “Which Side of History” and “Betrayed”.

OKLAHOMA. Woman shot while trying to steal Nazi flag from man’s yard: “Authorities said the woman was dared at a party across the street to try and steal one of the Nazi flags the front yard of Alexander John Feaster’s front yard in Hunter. ‘On the way back someone hollered gun, she dropped the flag at the end of the driveway and shots were fired,’ Garfield County Sheriff Jody Helm said.”

PHONING EDNA. Nikki Blonsky said she called John Travolta before coming out as gay. “I did not want the person who played my mother to have to find out about this from anybody else.”

JENNIFER ANISTON. Wear a damn mask.

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I understand masks are inconvenient and uncomfortable. But don’t you feel that it’s worse that businesses are shutting down… jobs are being lost… health care workers are hitting absolute exhaustion. And so many lives have been taken by this virus because we aren’t doing enough. ⠀ ⠀ I really do believe in the basic goodness of people so I know we can all do this 🥰 BUT still, there are many people in our country refusing to take the necessary steps to flatten the curve, and keep each other safe. People seem worried about their “rights being taken away” by being asked to wear a mask. This simple and effective recommendation is being politicized at the expense of peoples’ lives. And it really shouldn’t be a debate 🙏🏼 ⠀ ⠀ If you care about human life, please… just #wearadamnmask 😷 and encourage those around you to do the same ❤

A post shared by Jennifer Aniston (@jenniferaniston) on Jun 30, 2020 at 2:18pm PDT

FOX NEWS. Ed Henry fired over sexual misconduct: “Henry, a longtime Washington correspondent who was recently made co-anchor of the Fox Corp.-owned network’s mid-morning program “America’s Newsroom,” was let go quickly after the network received a complaint on June 25 from a former employee about Henry’s behavior from “years ago,” according to a statement from Fox News Media CEO Suzanne Scott and President Jay Wallace. “Ed was suspended the same day and removed from his on-air responsibilities pending investigation. Based on investigative findings, Ed has been terminated,” the executives said in a statement.”


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happy pride

A post shared by KJ Apa (@kjapa) on Jun 29, 2020 at 8:07am PDT

VICE. On NYC’s Queer Liberation March. “The march is only in its second year, but it became the de-facto in-person Pride event for New York City in 2020. It also fell at a time when police brutality protests were already raging across the country, sparked by the killing of George Floyd in May, and one year after the death of Layleen Polanco, a transgender woman who died in police custody at Rikers Island prison.”

HUMP DAY HAIRY. Karim Khalifa.

The post John Travolta, Ed Henry, Terry Crews, Lincoln Project, Superspreaders, Bush Alums, Houston, KJ Apa, Jennifer Aniston: HOT LINKS appeared first on Towleroad Gay News.

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Billy Porter says religious homophobes don’t need to worry about his ‘salvation’ – just give him respect

In becoming the first openly gay man to cover ESSENCE magazine, Billy Porter delivered a grand creed on the impunity felt by those who slay Black folk and addressed the concerns expressed by religious homophobes over his “salvation”. The Pose star featured on the magazine’s July/August 2020 issue in an…

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Daily Dose: Two distant cousins meet up. Sexual tension ensue.


Welcome to Queerty’s latest entry in our series, Queerantined: Daily Dose. Every weekday as long as the COVID-19 pandemic has us under quarantine, we’ll release a suggested bit of gloriously queer entertainment designed to keep you from getting stir crazy in the house. Each weekend, we will also suggest a binge-able title to keep you extra engaged.

The Candy: Cousins

This Brazilian film took us off guard last year with its sweetness and its explicit sexuality. Cousins follows the mundane life of Lucas (Paulo Sousa), a slightly nerdy piano teacher living with his religious aunt. When Lucas’ distant cousin Mario (writer/director Thiago Cazado) returns from prison, he shacks up with his aunt and cousin whilst looking for work. Lucas finds Mario crass & scary but also intriguing, as sexual tension quickly mounts between the pair.

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Cousins has a somewhat ridiculous premise redeemed thanks to Cazado’s good humor and sincerity. The film makes Mario & Lucas’ love affair into the stuff of romantic fantasy, which makes us overlook the unlikeliness of it. The awkwardness between the pair also invites some very big laughs to the proceedings, and Cazado’s very explicit sex scenes don’t come off exploitive so much as a celebration of newfound sexuality. Silly, beautiful, sensual and very homoerotic, Cousins is the fantasy romance we have been waiting for.

Streams on Dekkoo.

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