Management at a Washington, D.C., gay sports bar has apologized for flying a thin blue line flag outside of the establishment, noting that they weren't aware that flying the flag was apparently synonymous with opposing the Black Lives Matter movement.
The thin blue line flag is not officially affiliated with any particular group or political movement — and simply appears to be an emblem of generic support for law enforcement.
In the apology, management called the flying of the flag unintentionally "tone deaf" and "offensive."
What's the backstory?
Nellie's Sports Bar flew the pro-police flag in an effort to welcome LGBT police officers to a meeting at the establishment in an attempt to create "a welcoming space" for the officers.
The flag was flown alongside a gay pride flag and an American flag.
According to WTTG-TV, the bar faced criticism after flying the flag, with many people reportedly asserting that the flag, which they associate with the Blue Lives Matter movement, somehow mocks or detracts from the Black Lives Matter movement.
Activist group No Justice No Pride was one of the many who railed against the establishment for their hoisting of the flag and wrote that the bar's decision to fly the flag was "anti-blackness."
What was in the apology?
Nellie's issued a public apology on their Facebook page for flying what they "thought was just a flag representing the police":
This weekend, all of us at Nellie's learned an extremely important lesson.
At the end of this week, a group of LGBT police officers were meeting at Nellie's to gather in a welcoming space. This happened to fall just as we were taking down our Irish flag for St. Patrick's Day, and we opted to welcome them with what we thought was just a flag representing the police.
Soon after the flag was hoisted, we learned from our customers and the community that this flag is also used to undermine the work of the Black Lives Matter movement, and we promptly removed it. We in no way meant to state that we are opposed to the Black Lives Matter movement, especially in the wake of Stephon Clark's tragic death and the disturbing new facts coming to light in the Alton Sterling case.
We now understand that flying this flag — at this point in time, in particular — was at best tone deaf, and at worst offensive. We sincerely apologize to our customers and our neighbors for this egregious mistake, and want to assure you that this flag will never fly at Nellie's again. What it represents to you is not what we want to represent, or what we want our bar to be.
We messed up. There is no excuse. We will learn from this and try harder to make Nellie's the safe, welcoming space for all that we want it to be. Thank you for teaching us this important lesson. We want to make this better -- so we will be sending a donation to No Justice No Pride, and recommitting ourselves to learning more every day.