By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily
A Cheyenne bar that was criticized for selling a T-shirt that contained an offensive term has decided to no longer stock the item, the business owner said this week.
The Eagle’s Nest, a bar that primarily caters to motorcyclists, was roundly criticized on social media over the weekend when a photo of a shirt the bar sold began circulating. Many commenters opposed what they called the shirt’s violent imagery and use of a derogatory term for homosexuals.
The shirt features a man pointing a pistol and reads “In Wyoming, we have a cure for AIDS, we shoot f—–‘n f—–s.”
However the bar’s owner told The Cheyenne Post on Monday that the shirts had sold out and he had no intention of getting any more.
Ray Bereziuk said that he is “in the bar business, not the apparel business,” and that he would not be reordering the shirts.
This marks an abrupt change as over the weekend, pro-LGBTQ organization Wyoming Equality asked the bar to stop selling the shirts, but the staff refused.
“We hoped that they would choose to stop selling them when they realized the harm it did to the LGBTQ community and those living with AIDS,” a post read on the group’s Facebook page. “It is a sad day.”
It wasn’t clear how long the bar had been selling the shirts.
The shirt also drew the criticism of a state legislator as offering a message contrary to the state’s actual attitudes.
State Rep. Landon Brown, R-Cheyenne, said that although he supports the bar staff’s freedom of speech to sell such shirts, all involved should be aware that consequences exist for selling such goods.
“This shirt is despicable and does not represent Wyoming in any way shape or form,” Brown told Cowboy State Daily on Tuesday. “In a time where we need to grow our economy and welcome new industries to our state, this type of action causes consequences, not only for the bar, but our state as a whole. Businesses see this type of action in Wyoming and don’t even blink when offered options in our state. I’m disappointed and frankly I’m hurt that anyone in Wyoming feels this way against EITHER of the communities named in the shirt. I stand in solidarity with those affected and condemn the sale of such an egregious and irresponsible item.”
Wyoming Equality executive director Sara Burlingame and Cheyenne Mayor Patrick Collins didn’t respond to requests for comment by press time.