WILLIAMSTOWN, KY (FOX19) - A northern Kentucky barbecue food truck is getting a lot of heat after advertising its T-shirts on social media.
The of Belle’s Smoking BBQ took a play on the acronym LGBTQ and changed it to Liberty, Guns, Bible, Trump, and BBQ. Some are calling the message insensitive and hateful.
Belle’s Smoking BBQ is based in Williamstown, but the owner Jamie Smith has been traveling all over the state bringing his food to crowds for three years. Now his merchandise is overshadowing his smoked meats.
Smith says he started selling the T-shirts nearly two years ago.
“I found the acronym on Facebook and I just added the Q,” he said.
He says he has sold nearly a 100, but decided to advertise it on Facebook on Thursday to get more sales.
“I posted the shirt today for new swag and it just went out of hand and it got blowed up,” said Smith.
The message he posted on Facebook stated: “We are going to stock up on some Swag. Hat and shirts. Let me know what yall want via text message. We are going to have our traditional Belles shirts, trucker hats. We will also have our LGBTQ shirts as well Belle’s logo on the back. For those who said (wtf)”
The post quickly went viral with many people sending messages of their own like: “Simple BIGOTRY...sad commentary for business good luck going broke!”
Smith took down the post and replaced it with a statement saying in part: “We apologize if we have offended any groups of people, organizations or individuals with our shirts. We respect all beliefs and lifestyles and want no ill will towards anyone.”
Ariel Lewis, who lives in Williamstown says the message puts a bad taste in her mouth.
“Wearing that shirt is f------ offensive," Lewis said.
Lewis says she hasn’t tried Belle’s Smoking BBQ yet, but now has no plans to. “I ain’t never going to try it. I’ll make my own."
Many people in Williamstown say they plan to continue to stand behind the family business and they don’t understand why others wouldn’t.
“That’s foolish, very foolish everyone believes in something different,” said Zach Walters who lives in the area. “If I see the food truck I’m going to stop by and get some food it sounds really good."
Smith says the business is his livelihood and he doesn’t like the threats that he has received but they are going to continue to sell the shirts.
“At the end of the day we have to stand for what we believe in and like I said if I offended anyone that wasn’t our intention but it was just a play on words," he said.
Smith says he has already sold out all of his shirts and has a back order for more. Below is a full statement on the matter from Smith:
“Belle’s Smoking BBQ apologizes if we have offended any groups, organizations or individuals with our shirts. We respect all beliefs and lifestyles and want no ill will towards anyone. We know each person has their own thoughts and beliefs but we are hurt that the people who are saying, ‘stop the hate’ are the ones coming at us with the harassing messages and threatening phone calls. Again we apologize for any hurt feelings and thank our supporters who truly know us."