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Restaurant owner issues apology after 'insensitive and derogatory' display sign: 'If a male can identify as a female, can a bar identify as a grocery store?'

Incident has been 'handled internally,' says the owner

Image source: WRDE-TV video screenshot

The owner of a Salisbury, Maryland, restaurant has issued a public apology for a sign that appeared outside his eatery.

The display — a specials board that was reportedly written by an employee of the restaurant and not the owner — appeared to compare a person's sexual identity to that of a bar calling itself a grocery store.

What are the details?

According to a Monday report from the Salisbury Daily Times, Rob Mulford, owner of the Market Street Inn, apologized after the sign — which said, "So if a male can identify as a female, can a bar identify as a grocery store?" — caught the attention of various passersby and quickly went viral on social media over the weekend.

In a statement posted to the restaurant's Facebook page, Mulford issued an apology, saying that he is sorry for the "extremely insensitive and derogatory" sign. He also assured patrons that nothing of the sort would ever happen again.

"I the owner of Market Street Inn am sorry for the distasteful sign that was written in front of a place of business," a portion of Mulford's statement said. "A public business is not a platform for political or personal feelings or opinions and ... is ultimately the responsibility of the person responsible for that organization."

Mulford told WMDT-TV that recovering from the incident will be a "process of learning."

"[I]t's a whole new thing, and it was a big mistake, and it's hurtful," he admitted. "Hopefully over time [the community] will take that I am sincere about it, and that sincerity we build on it, and move forward, and correct our problems, and that's all you can really ask."

He told the outlet that the employee in question is no longer employed at the restaurant following the incident.

You can view the original image here.

What else?

Mulford added that he put himself in contact with Salisbury PFLAG to educate himself further on the insensitivity caused by the offense.

According to the Times, the PFLAG branch said that it offered to provide the restaurant with "training and education about LGBTQ+ people, and specifically trans, gender expansive, nonbinary, and gender nonconforming people."

"We look forward to working with them to help build inclusive spaces for our community," organization continued. "This is a great example of positive community change, and we look forward to taking that lead."

Mark DeLancey of PFLAG told WMDT that the organization is brainstorming a way to "address the issue on a larger scale."

"[W]e're going to go ahead and look into different things," DeLancey said.

WRDE-TV reported that resident Caitlin Wight, who grew up in Salisbury, said that this particular incident is not the first of its kind.

"If you're not transgender you don't get to decide what is or isn't a joke or what you should or shouldn't be sensitive about," Wight said, according to the station.

One last thing…
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