A Washington, DC, bar is apologizing to the community for flying the black, white, and blue “Blue Lives Matter” flag; after hosting a meeting of gay police officers, reports say.
Nellie’s Sports Bar in D.C.’s Shaw neighborhood, just north of the National Mall, displayed the police flag outside its establishment to celebrate an LGBT police group that was meeting there. But the bar owners met with criticism from local Black Lives Matter activists who insisted that flying the police-centric flag meant the bar didn’t support minorities, Fox 56 reported. One even claimed the bar supported “anti-blackness.”
On its Facebook page, a group called NoJusticeNoPride insisted that it would cancel any activities it had planned at the bar, Daily Caller noted.
“Nellie’s Sports Bar is canceled. In the wake of the murder of Stephon Clark and non-indictment of the officers who killed Alton Sterling, they have the audacity to fly a flag that tells us they don’t value Black lives,” the group said.
The bar quickly apologized for daring to fly a flag to support the gay police officer meeting. In a Facebook post, the bar owners said they had “learned” from the incident and promised to make the establishment a “welcoming space” for everyone.
“This weekend, all of us at Nellie’s learned an extremely important lesson,” the post began. It continued saying:
At the end of this week, a group of LGBT police officers were meeting at Nellie’s to gather in a welcoming space. This happened to fall just as we were taking down our Irish flag for St. Patrick’s Day, and we opted to welcome them with what we thought was just a flag representing the police.
Soon after the flag was hoisted, we learned from our customers and the community that this flag is also used to undermine the work of the Black Lives Matter movement, and we promptly removed it. We in no way meant to state that we are opposed to the Black Lives Matter movement, especially in the wake of Stephon Clark’s tragic death and the disturbing new facts coming to light in the Alton Sterling case.
We now understand that flying this flag — at this point in time, in particular — was at best tone deaf, and at worst offensive. We sincerely apologize to our customers and our neighbors for this egregious mistake, and want to assure you that this flag will never fly at Nellie’s again. What it represents to you is not what we want to represent, or what we want our bar to be.
We messed up. There is no excuse. We will learn from this and try harder to make Nellie’s the safe, welcoming space for all that we want it to be. Thank you for teaching us this important lesson. We want to make this better — so we will be sending a donation to No Justice No Pride, and recommitting ourselves to learning more every day.
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston.