An Atlanta brewery is seemingly feeling some pangs of regret after angering fans by hosting an event for a controversial political candidate. Last week, Monday Night Brewing played host to the Georgia chapter of the National Federation of Independent Business as it officially endorsed Brian Kemp for governor.
Even folks outside Georgia will likely recognize Kemp: The Republican candidate’s campaign ads have garnered national media attention for their over-the-top attempts to appeal to the MAGA hat-wearing pro-Trump crowd, such as one in which the politician brags that he’s “so conservative,” he’ll use his own pickup truck to “round up criminal illegals.” In a different campaign ad, Kemp aims a shotgun at a teenage boy who wants to date his daughter.
After local reporters showed up at the brewery to cover last week’s event, word quickly spread on Twitter and many fans of the brewery voiced their discontent:
Really loved @MondayNight for coming to our neighborhood and getting involved in our community, but crushed they’d host (and benefit from) a fundraiser for a racist, xenophobic candidate.
If y’all don’t draw the line there, where will you draw it?
— Sarah Lawrence (@whiskeyfoxxtrot) September 11, 2018
So, @MondayNight is the rest of the way off my list now. Business/financial decision or no, having that candidate’s event on site means you are perfectly fine having your brand associated with his racism and voter suppression efforts. https://t.co/oGu2F3z7bN
— Sadie (@sadieup) September 11, 2018
As Eater Atlanta reports, Monday Night Brewing responded with a tweet of its own today, acknowledging its “recent missteps” and posting a link to a “Core Values” page on its website that clarifies the company’s political stance (or lack thereof): “First, we want to be clear that we do not endorse particular political candidates,” the brewery writes, further explaining in tweets that it did not take any payment in exchange for providing event space, and also did not provide any free beer at the event. The statement goes on to say that MNB “believe[s] in the value of diversity”; a number of Twitter users pointed out this seemed ironic, given Kemp’s racist and xenophobic viewpoints.
The brewery also acknowledged in a tweet that it’s “been actively in talks” to host an event for Kemp’s Democratic opposition, Stacey Abrams — though given the firestorm over the last event and the brewery’s subsequent insistence that it doesn’t endorse any particular political candidates, it wouldn’t exactly be a surprise if that didn’t come to fruition.
In the country’s current Trumpian landscape, businesses are increasingly being forced to face the repercussions of taking any kind of political stance, be it official or perceived. After a Virginia restaurant called the Red Hen ejected Trump press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders mid-meal back in June, it became the target of a furious right-wing witch hunt that included wild accusations of pedophilia, online harassment, and protests outside the restaurant during which at least one person flung chicken poop at the building.
Meanwhile, restaurants located inside Trump properties have seen their sales suffer since the election, and administration officials including Homeland Security security Kirstjen Nielsen and former Environmental Protection Agency chief Scott Pruitt have been interrupted by angry constituents while dining out. At least one bar has refused to serve a patron wearing a MAGA hat — but Trump supporters are not protected under any current discrimination laws, so businesses are well within their rights to do so.