A Charlotte sports bar is pleading for people not to boycott the business after someone shared on social media that a far-right group associated with white supremacists visited there this weekend.
Steamer’s Sports Pub on Pierson Drive in east Charlotte said on its Facebook page late Monday that a customer’s social media post about members of the Proud Boys being there Saturday night “bearing their insignia with knives and concealed guns” has “gotten out of control.”
The Proud Boys, founded in 2016 in New York City, is self-described as being “western chauvinist.” Members of the group, which is designated as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, participated in the deadly riots at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, multiple media outlets reported.
“We have since been notified that there are discussions of groups wanting to boycott Steamer’s, so we wanted to get this message out as soon as possible with hopes of deescalating the situation. Please feel free to share this post as much as possible so that the truth prevails,” the post said.
Steamer’s and owner Bill Nolan have been accused of being racist since the post, according to the bar.
Nolan told the Observer on Tuesday it’s an example of how Facebook posts get out of control and called it a “disgrace.”
Steamer’s acknowledged members of the Proud Boys were there Saturday and said: “They were all polite.”
The 25-year-old restaurant said it allows everyone to enter. “As long as you follow the rules and don’t cause any trouble, you will be served, which is exactly what we did with this group of patrons,” the post said.
️️**IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT**️️It has been brought to our attention that one of our regulars posted on their...
No staff members were aware of or saw any weapons, according to the sports pub.
“Some of them were wearing black hoodies but none of them had their hoods up as that is something that is not allowed at Steamer’s and is strictly enforced,” the post said.
The woman who made a post about the Proud Boys defended Steamer’s commenting on the bar’s post: “Steamer’s does not condone or support any racist behavior and I will ensure everyone is aware of that. The only reason I made people aware of their presence in town is because of the potential risks to safety they bring with their group.”
Efforts to reach her for comment were unsuccessful Tuesday.
Reactions were mixed online, with most comments defending Steamer’s staff and Nolan, saying they are not racist.
“Wow, in this day and time when people need their business and livelihood, why would you smear someone doing nothing wrong?” one person said.
Others questioned the decision with some saying they won’t be back.
“I understand they were nice but what they represent is hate for my existence. How does someone like me feel safe at a place that welcomes hate,” one person said.
In July, Nolan posted two videos about the North Carolina coronavirus-related restrictions on alcohol sales saying, “This whole COVID thing is getting out of control” and government decisions were taking away American rights.