Fitzgerald’s Problematic Email

Fitzgerald’s Problematic Email

*Puts lawyer hat on.*  Y’all, another Houston spot has been accused of racism, but get this the discriminatory comments are in writing!  Here is the back story.   Today, a Houston based producer named Garrett Brown aka TrakkSounds (who happens to be white) reached out to local music venue Fitzgerald’s requesting information on booking two “billboard charting hip hop artists” at their venue.  He received the below email in response.

FullSizeRender 81

*music stops, mouth hits the floor*  You’d think I would be used to instances of overt racism, but each time my mouth hits the floor and I scream YOU CANT SAY THAT! As if I’m the discrimination police. Anywho, TrakkSounds was also shocked.  In response, he did what anyone in 2017 would do! He screenshot the email, shared it on twitter and @ Fitzgerald’s twitter account. Fitzgerald’s responded with this:

FullSizeRender 82 FullSizeRender 83

Let’s dissect these comments for a moment shall we??  1) Despite the use of quotations, I’m prettttty sure that’s not a direct quote from any chart topping rap song. So we will just go with Fitzgerald’s made that quote up. 2) So they make up a quote and went right for the use of the n-word?  Interesting. 3) The racial stereotyping of the audience is pretty appalling.  “Sagging pants” most often refers to African American men.  The attributes that followed that description were also offensive.  As Rap/Hip Hop has continued to grow, we have seen that it draws such a diverse crowd that includes a variety of ages, races and gender.  It is inaccurate and offensive to suggest otherwise.  4) The email implies that Fitzgerald’s never hosts these types of events. I browsed their upcoming events and true to their claim there were no Hip Hop artists on the list.  Looking back though, the venue JUST hosted Devin the Dude last month.  So which one is it guys?

On it’s face this email is obviously offensive but people often times people scream Freedom of Speech in these situations.  I touched on this before when the now defunct bar Gaslamp tried similar discriminatory practices through their door policies.  Free speech is one thing, but acting on those beliefs is another.  In this instance, refusing to serve someone would be acting with racial animus and that my friends is illegal under a little federal statute that prohibits discrimination in places of public accommodations.  Basically, it prohibits discrimination in public places that provide accommodations such as sleeping, eating and/or drinking.  And guess what?? The statute specifically names “concert halls” so yes, Fitzgerald’s THAT’S YOU!

For those still in doubt, check out the federal actions against Gaslamp and Kung Fu Saloon. Both were accused of discriminatory practices and both were challenged by the federal government through this statute! So why do Houston venues keep trying this stuff??

What’s worse is Fitzgerald’s had the gall to put their feelings (i.e. discriminatory intent) in writing. Just for giggles, I drafted a better response.  One that gets the point across without being judgy, racist, and not down right rude.

Dear kind sir,
Thank you for your interest in our venue.  We are not interested in booking the acts you presented at this time.  I will keep your contact information in case this changes.  Thank you again for reaching out!
Sincerely,
Nice Business Manager

You see? You don’t even owe a potential customer a reason for the denial and you certainly shouldn’t be spewing racist beliefs in business emails.  Now with this email example, we are left to only assume the reason is racial and it would be up to us to prove the intent.

There have been calls to boycott the venue spreading through social media and local media have also picked up the story.  Now I know that Fitzgerald’s argument is, well “that group” doesn’t buy anything anyway so a boycott will not hurt our pockets.  I believe Gaslamp may have felt similarly when the talk of boycotts against them first started in 2015.  Well they quickly saw that the marginalized groups they targeted not only had buying power, but adequate support from the community at large.  Gaslamp in turn changed their name to 360 Midtown and went through great efforts to move the front door of their establishment to literally change their address!  So the short of this is, never believe that your dollar does not matter!

By |2017-02-07T22:40:44-05:00February 7th, 2017|Categories: Houston Eats, Tips and Tricks|2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. Brandi February 7, 2017 at 8:00 pm - Reply

    That is horrible. I can’t believe they would write that abs then try to pass it off as a music quote. If, giving the benefit of the doubt, they did quote them it was in very poor taste.

    • ErikasTruth February 19, 2017 at 7:54 pm - Reply

      Definitely bold! They have begun to get some flack for it too.

Leave A Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.