Tim Hortons is once again digging itself an even larger hole. A lesbian couple who were embracing and giving each other a few kisses on the check outside a Tim Hortons restaurant in Ontario, Canada, while sipping their Tim Hortons coffee, have unintentionally set off a firestorm of protests and peeled back the anti-gay perspective of the 47-year old Canadian iconic Tim Hortons restaurant brand, the largest restaurant chain in Canada, which 3000 restaurants, mostly franchises, and an additional 600 in the U.S.
As The New Civil Rights Movement reported earlier today, “a Blenheim, Ontario, Canada Tim Hortons franchise threatened to call the cops on a lesbian couple who were drinking their Tim Hortons coffee outside the restaurant while having their hands around each others’ waists, and kissing once or twice on the cheek. The couple chose to leave rather than create a stir, and noticed a local pastor for a Pentecostal Church named Glad Tidings, with a dozen congregants in the Tim Hortons parking lot praying for the couple’s soul. Reportedly, the pastor is the one who complained to the restaurant manager.”
First, the company’s response: entirely unacceptable. Here’s why:
Tim Horton’s apology was emailed to a local radio station, and not made to the couple directly. In the non-apology apology, Tim Hortons addresses the couple by their first names. I don’t know about Canadian etiquette, but as an American (not that our manners are any better, and most likely, from my personal experience, far worse,) I would be offended by being addressed by my first name in this situation.
Additionally, Tim Hortons offers a conditional response: “we apologize if they were offended,” proving that Tim Hortons is not truly sorry this happened, other than it ruined their PR department’s day. If you’re not sorry whether or not the affected party is offended, then you’re not sorry at all. In this case, something is either right or wrong, period, and this was very wrong.
Further, Tim Hortons’ apology calls kicking the couple and their family off the restaurant’s property a “misunderstanding.” It was only a misunderstanding if indeed they did not mean to kick the couple off the property — which also included the threat of calling the police if they did not “leave within five minutes” — but rather asked them inside for a free donut.
The Tim Hortons apology includes this entirely unacceptable sentence: “The guests’ behaviour went beyond public displays of affection and was making other guests feel uncomfortable.”
First, how do you know what exactly they were doing, since the person who was “uncomfortable” was a Pentecostal preacher, and the couple say they were embracing at the waist — they had their arms around each other’s waist, side by side — and offered each other a single kiss. In front of one of their mothers, a brother, and a cousin. Chances are pretty good that the lesbian couple in their mid-twenties weren’t involved in a heavy make-out session.
So the only one who complained was the minister, and it’s his word against the lesbian couple. So Tim Horton’s naturally, takes the side of the minister.
Sorry, folk, but whether or not he was offended is irrelevant. If I am kissing my fiancé as we walk down the street and someone is offended, that’s their problem, not mine. We’ve done nothing wrong. There are no laws against kissing, as far as I’m aware, and just like smoking, either it’s illegal in a certain area or it’s not. And if it is, it must be illegal for all couples, not just the ones a Pentecostal Minister hates.
I know. In 2009, The New Civil Rights Movement created the Great Nationwide Kiss-In, a 55-city international event designed to respond to illegal threats and arrests of same-sex couples who were harassed for simply kissing in public. I’m pretty much an expert here.
So, here’s the official Tim Hortons non-apology apology. Tim Hortons has not responded to telephone calls for comment. We will update you when and if they do.
Via Canadian radio station AM980:
In a statement e-mailed to AM980 early Monday afternoon, Alexandra Cygal, manager of public affairs at Tim Hortons head office, says the couple “went beyond public displays of affection.”
“Thank you so much for the opportunity to respond. We apologize if the two guests were offended by the misunderstanding that occurred at our Blenheim restaurant last month on behalf of the owners and management. It was not their intention. Tim Hortons and its restaurant owners have always welcomed all families and communities to their restaurants and will continue to do so. It was not the manager’s intention to offend or target anyone based on their sexual orientation. The guests’ behaviour went beyond public displays of affection and was making other guests feel uncomfortable. The management has apologized to Riley and Patricia and invite them back to their restaurant.”
The spokesperson refused to provide further comment on the incident.
Duckworth says she was not contacted directly by anyone at Tim Hortons and read the apology for the first time on a website.
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