Posts Tagged As: Tampa FL

Tampa Public Employee Calls Rainbow Flag Raised In Memory of Orlando “Nearly Unbearable Hostile Work Environment”

Jim Burroway

June 18th, 2016

RainbowFlagTampaHillsborough County (Tampa) officials raised a rainbow flag outside the Hillsborough Center in memory of the victims of the Pulse gay night club massacre in Orlando. The flag went up on Wednesday after the County Commission voted to honor the Orlando victims, but not before the County Commission heard complaints from local anti-gay activists. “I want to say that these people that were killed were Americans, “said longtime conservative activist Terry Kemple. “They weren’t LGBT. … They were Americans.” He added:

“I have to say that it wasn’t that long ago that you all voted to take down a plaque that had the Confederate flag on it because it might offend some people,” Kemple said. “I can assure you that if you vote to raise the rainbow flag above county center, it will offend some people.”

The commission voted 5-1 to fly the flag and to recognizes this month each years as LGBT Pride Month. The flag went up soon after. Just one day after it was raised, Republican County Commissioner Stacy White, who was not present during the Wednesday meeting, called for the flag’s removal:

In an email sent to the the county human relations director Peggy Rowe on Thursday, White said he received an anonymous complaint from a county employee that the presence of the flag was “nearly unbearable” for her to pass on her way to work and created a “hostile work environment.”

Calling the rainbow flag a “divisive, politically-charged symbol,” White asked Rowe if it could become an HR problem for the county. If it does, then White said he wanted a special meeting of the county commission to consider removing it.

…“It is still – in my view – unconscionable that the county administrator didn’t express to the board that this divisive symbol might create an uncomfortable workplace environment for many of his employees,” White wrote.

The Tampa Bay Times has reprinted White’s email to Rowe and county administrator Mike Merrill’s response.


Hillsborough County (Tampa) Repeals Gay Pride Ban

Jim Burroway

June 5th, 2013

In a unanimous 7-0 vote, County Commissioners of Hillsborough County, Florida, repealed an eight-year-old ban on recognizing gay pride events:

Earlier Wednesday, the speakers included Terry Kemple, head of the Hillsborough-based Community Issues Council. Prior to the vote, he spent time rallying opposition to what he called Commissioner Kevin Beckner’s “crusade to push for county government recognition of homosexual behavior.

Before Wednesday’s vote, no other group of residents had its activities similarly deemed unrecognizable by county government.

Tampa’s pride celebration appears to be defunct, near as I can tell. But neighboring St. Petersburg will hold theirs at the end of June. BTB Daily Agenda readers may recall our post about a month-long campaign of “morals raids” that were staged in Tampa and surrounding Hillsborough County in 1961. Those raids resulted in hundreds of arrests and the destruction of a number of careers.

Democratic Operative Deploys Gay-Baiting Campaign

Jim Burroway

March 14th, 2011

Unconscionable. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know what “unmarried” is code for. From Think Progress:

Less Government Now appears to be tied to Scott Maddox, a Democratic operative who unsuccessfully ran for Agricultural Commissioner last year, and has been used to bolster tea party candidates in an attempt to split the GOP vote. Tampa has non-partisan mayoral elections, but Ferlita, a current county commissioner, is a Republican.

Sometimes Freud Was Right

Jim Burroway

November 11th, 2009

A man with issues.

A man with issues.

On Monday, Marine reservist Jasen Bruce attacked a visiting Greek Orthodox priest with a tire iron after the priest asked him for directions. Bruce originally claimed that he attacked Rev. Alexois Marakis, whose English is poor, because he thought the man was an Islamic terrorist. Now Bruce, who’s also a beefcake model, is changing his story. He’s switching to the gay panic defense, claiming the priest tried to grab his genitals.

How many issues can you count in that paragraph?

Budweiser Addresses Murder Music Complaint

Timothy Kincaid

March 12th, 2008

budselect.pngLast Saturday there was a concert in Tampa that featured the Beenie Man. This artist has a history of advocating for murder and violence against gay men and women in his lyrics.

We expressed our concern to two national brands that were listed as sponsors of this concert, Budweiser Select and metroPCS.

Today we received the following e-mail from Anheuser-Busch:

Dear Timothy,

Thank you for contacting Anheuser-Busch regarding the WiLD Splash concert series.

Anheuser-Busch is not a sponsor of WiLD Splash. The local, independent Anheuser-Busch distributor is a partner of radio station WLLD, and agreed to sponsor the concert series months earlier without the benefit of knowing the entire artist line-up. The local distributor will address this issue with WLLD Radio and will perform its own research on acts slated for any future concert series.

Anheuser-Busch exercises no direct control over the marketing efforts of independent wholesalers including their sponsorships, participating artists or content of such an event. However, neither Anheuser-Busch or any of our wholesalers would knowingly participate in any sponsorship, promotion or performance that denigrates any segment of our consumers, and we specifically denounce any espoused violence against the LGBT community.

Regretfully, some confusion in the original consumer contact and our own internal processes failed to escalate this consumer inquiry in a timely manner allowing Anheuser-Busch to strongly advise the wholesaler against any participation in the event. Additional safeguards have been put in place to accelerate our processes to prevent future problems; specifically, all future LGBT issues will be sent directly to my attention for immediate handling.

Anheuser-Busch maintains a corporate commitment to zero tolerance for discrimination and the belief that every consumer is important, regardless of race, sex, religion, color, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, age, disability or veteran’s status.

Thank you again for bringing this regrettable situation to our attention and rest assured that it will be addressed at all levels within the Anheuser-Busch family.


James Ramey

Manager, Multi-Cultural Marketing

I appreciate the difficulty of managing the image of a national brand while allowing local sponsorship decisions. And I commend Mr. Ramey for identifying the problem, taking a strong stance against homophobic music, and establishing steps to ensure that the Budweiser Select name does not again become associated with murder music.

So folks, this week when you’re catching the game (or the American Idol results show) crack open a cold Bud.

On the other hand, we have still to hear any response or even acknowlegement of our communication from metroPCS.

metroPCS Sponsors Murder Music

Timothy Kincaid

March 10th, 2008

metropcs.jpgOn Saturday an event took place in Tampa featuring Beenie Man, an artist known for lyrics that advocate murdering gay men and women. We contacted Anheiser-Busch to ask about their sponsorship of the event. Anheiser-Busch has acknowledged our concern and is in the process of investigating.

Another sponsor, metroPCS, has not given us the courtesy of indicating that they had received our complaint, much less given us any sense that they are treating this seriously. Today I sent the following email to metroPCS:

To: Diane McKenna
Director of Advertising & Brand Management

Dear Ms. McKenna,

On February 4, 2008, I emailed you inquiring about metroPCS’ sponsorship of music and lyrics that endorse the murder of gay men.

Specifically, I was concerned about an event two days ago in Tampa called Wild Splash which featured Beenie Man. This artist has a long history of homophobia in his lyrics, including “I’m dreaming of a new Jamaica, come to execute all the gays” and “Hang lesbians with a long piece of rope” and “Take a bazooka and kill gay men” (in Jamaican Patois).

I have not received any response from you or metroPCS about this concern. Can you please clarify if you have any policies in place that would address linking your name and logo to music that calls for murdering gay men and women?

Thank you,

Timothy Kincaid

Budweiser Murder Music Sponsorship Update

Timothy Kincaid

March 10th, 2008

Does Budweiser Select Murder Music?I received a message in my voicemail from Anheiser-Busch indicating that they are still looking into my complaint. Currently, they believe the issue is one of local endorsement.

I have responded by inquiring as to whether there is any policy about using the name and logo of Budweiser when making local endorsements. I anticipate a response by email.

Budweiser Continues in Sponsorship of Anti-Gay Murder Music

Timothy Kincaid

March 7th, 2008

Does Budweiser Select Murder Music?On Sunday we informed you that Budweiser has signed on as sponsor of a music event that featured Beenie Man. This artist’s lyrics endorses the murder of gay men and women, a position that he unapologetically champions repeatedly in his recordings and performances.

On Monday, March 3, I inquired with Anheuser-Busch regarding this endorsement. On Tuesday I received a response inquiring about the details. At 1:23 PST, I immediately replied with the following email:

Customer Relations,

Thank you for your response. Here is additional information:

Bud Select is a sponsor of Wild 98.7’s Wild Splash on March 8, 2008 at the Ford Amphitheater. Beenie Man is listed as a featured performer.

[Ref: Link to Wild 98.7 web site]

I’m sure that you are aware that Beenie Man’s lyrics have caused considerable concern in the gay community, as they endorse violence and murder against gay people. A number of venues and sponsors have in the past pulled support once the meaning of his music came to their attention.

[Ref: Link to Guardian web site]

You may also know that Jamaica is currently considered one of the most, if not the very most, dangerous place for gay people to live. There are regular reports of mob attack, often encouraged by the police.

[Ref: :Link to New York Times article]

And Beenie Man is unapologetic about his message of hate. When questioned about such lyrics as “I’m dreaming of a new Jamaica, come to execute all the gays” or “Hang lesbians with a long piece of rope” or “Take a bazooka and kill gay men”, he responded that he reserved the right to criticize “the homosexual lifestyle”.

[Ref: Link to IGLA article]

By propagating Beenie Man’s message, venues and sponsors send a message to Jamaicans and others that homophobia is acceptable. There is no question that such messages lead to increased violence and death.

For further information about the conditions in Jamaica and the part that some musicians play in this situation, I invite you to review our website, or just do a quick Google search.

I look forward to your response. Thank you,

Timothy Kincaid

As yet I have not received any reply or other response to the information. The St. Petersburg Times lists the following for tomorrow in their Out and About section

Wild Splash ’08: The popular bash hosted by WLLD-FM 98.7 returns this year with a list of some of the hottest acts on the radio airwaves: Wyclef Jean, Beenie Man, Pitbull, Rick Ross, Baby Bash, Trina, Treal, J Holiday, Grind Mode and more. 4 p.m.; Ford Amphitheater, 4802 U.S. 301 N, Tampa. Call 287-8844.

The radio station’s website continues to list Beenie Man as a performer. The logo for Bud Select has been moved to a more prominent position on the page.

I assume that the concert will go on. And that Beenie Man’s lyrics will continue to call for the murder of “batty-men”. And more gay men and women will be attacked and murdered.

I am saddened that Anheuser-Busch doesn’t seem to care.

Beenie Man to Perform in Tampa

Jim Burroway

March 2nd, 2008

Tampa CBS affiliate WiLD 98.7 is sponsoring a “WiLD Splash” at the Ford Amphitheater on March 8. Ten hip-hop and dance hall artists are on the bill, including Jamaican Dance Hall recording artist Beenie Man whose lyrics advocate killing gays and lesbians. One lyric has him saying, “I’m dreaming of a new Jamaica, come to execute all the gays.” Apparently many others are dreaming of the same Jamaica.

CBS Radio, Budweiser, and MetroPCS Wireless need to know what kind of deadly “entertainment” they are sponsoring. People really are dying in Jamaica and here in this country, including in South Florida. It’s time for blatant calls for more violence to come to an end.

You can contact WiDL 98.7 Promotions, Anheuser-Busch (1-800-342-5283), and MetroPCS (Toll free 1-888-863-8768) and let them know what you think of this.


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