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The Brown Coffee Company’s Aaron Blanco Apol...

The Brown Coffee Company’s Aaron Blanco Apologizes

Earlier today we sent out an email to owner Aaron Blanco and published it here on Sprudge.com. A few moments ago, Aaron Blanco responded on The Brown Coffee Company’s official website:

We at the Brown Coffee Company would like to issue a formal apology for a hurtful Twitter post that was put out on our company’s Twitter profile. We want to say for the record that everyone in this small family company is deeply regretful of all the offense we have caused everyone in this situation. We are truly sorry to have offended all the people we have offended. That kind of awful bigotry, hatred and slander has never been and will never be something we believe in and/or post and we are sorry to anyone who has seen this.

That Twitter post was contrary to everything we have strived to be as a company: one that enjoys life and enjoys people, regardless of personal beliefs. Those in the community who know us personally know that we are not hateful, spiteful, bigoted, intolerant people.

Thank you very much for giving us the opportunity to tell our side of the story. We humbly stand before anyone reading this and ask for your forgiveness for all the terrible things this stupid Twitter post has become and for all the offense it has caused to good people.

Thanks, Aaron.

 


  1. basic tips

    18 June

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  2. Sharon

    3 July

    JayC,

    You need to slow down and actually read what’s in front of you.

    That, or you’re someone who won’t take “yes” for an answer…

    Happy Independence Day.

    Sharon

  3. Jay C.

    30 June

    Sharon-
    Get used to what? A despotic nation that continues to federally persecute members of the GLBT Community???

    Or perhaps a president who, as candidate, positioned himself as a champion of gay rights yet has done everything possible not to publicly align himself along the lines of Brown and still hasn’t pushed a same sex marriage friendly agenda?

    Currently, in the United States, no state is compelled to recognize a same sex marriage legitimized in New York (or IA, MA, CT, NH, VT or DC, for that matter). Compare this to the situation in the 1960s where a mixed race couple could marry and the states were compelled by law to recognize that marriage.

    Compare this to our neighbor to the south, where some friends will be getting married this weekend. In Mexico, Mexican states are compelled by federal law to recognize same sex marriages in Mexico City.

    And it is naive to think that legalization of same sex marriages will eliminate institutional bigotry. This thinking begs us to believe that the institutions are not administered and enforced by people with their own beliefs and prejudices. In the 90 years since Women’s Suffrage and 46 years since the Civil Rights Act, women and minorities still today face discrimination and bigotry in all levels of society.

  4. Mark

    30 June

    It’s about time Aaron pulled his head out of his ass and said what he thinks. I’ll avoid his coffee and those who support his biblical worldview will rush to his store to buy it. As I’ve said from the start, if you don’t have the balls to defend it, don’t say (or tweet, facebook, etc.) it.

  5. Sharon

    30 June

    a) the Plato quote is mainly to show what a complete ignoramus Aaron Brown is to invoke the most famous gay man in history to defend homophobic rhetoric

    b) Plato’s thoughts on the treatment of homosexuals by governments shows just he opposite where NY State is concerned — NY State has shown itself to be the opposite of despotic, i.e. supportive of the civic rights of gays and lesbians — and as NY goes, so will the country. Get used to it.

    Some straight people want to have it both ways – they want to say, “I looooove gay people. Some of my best friends are gay! But I don’t think they should have all of the rights that I have…” The legalization of gay marriage will not remove bigotry from a lot of peoples’ hearts, but it does remove institutional bigotry. If you hate gay people, go right ahead. Just don’t try to force others to live with the consequences of that hate.

  6. Jay C.

    30 June

    While I disagree with him on a number of levels, Al does raise an interesting point. Does this vehement community of liberals merely limit themselves to Brown Coffee Company when calling for the exposition of those unreceptive to their way of life?

    I can think of one friend, a really great coffee person and known homosexual, who had to hide his sexual preference while on farm visits because the nations this person visited not only did not share the lifestyle but have demonstrated violence against those who lived that lifestyle.

    The logical extension of this current event is the “outing” of those people along the coffee chain who do not share the desire for equality and rights for the LGBT Community, right?

  7. Jay C.

    30 June

    Sharon-
    Isn’t your post a condemnation of our government as despotic then?

  8. Jay C.

    30 June

    Al-
    If you’re one of those minorities that married a white woman and truly believes that no one cares about your mixed marriage, then you’re telling yourself a lie. Mixed race couples in modern times routinely face discrimination and prejudice – or are you one of these people who would have us believe that racism and prejudice have been completely erased from American society in the years since 1964?

    You desire to make the argument that there are two laws at issue here. However, this is not the case. This is America where we (supposedly) champion a separation between church and state. This means that we can (and should) have laws upon which the church and the state do not agree. This is so with abortion, contraception and the like.

    At issue here is with state law and the recognition of equality for the LGBT community and their right to marry. This is a state recognition and does not force the church (or its believers) to marry people of their same sex. It does, however, enforce the equal treatment for these people under the law.

    On the force of “God’s Law”, I can recall one large church in particular that forbade blacks from ordination, priesthood and salvation BECAUSE they were black – and, evidently, being black was the mark of Satan.

    This changed in 1978 when the church leadership claimed that they had been given a “revelation” to allow blacks to higher levels within the church. Taken at face value, this is a MONUMENTAL change in church policy and represents the Voice of God issuing edicts within our lifetime.

    So what we’re saying is that after millenia of blacks not being worthy of salvation, the Almighty has suddenly changed his mind???

    Today, that pre-1978 ban on blacks is being taught as a God-given policy.

    But of course, that is a religious discussion and not germane to what is happening in our legal system today. What is at hand is the legalization of equal rights for people who may believe different than you.

    Are you really one of those who wishes to persecute them because they believe different than you?

    Kinda reminds me of a story about a poor, Jewish carpenter named Jesus…

  9. Sharon

    30 June

    Brown Coffee Company’s apology was a lie rooted in the fear that their true sentiments might hurt business. Based on their latest blog entry, they are emboldened by the fact that there are other bigots in the world. So… they have taken their apology down and re-assessed. Now the message is, “Intolerance sells coffee! No apology necessary.” The fact that people will come and buy merchandise in support of their rhetoric doesn’t make that rhetoric right. Theirs is a myopic worldview based in fear and dread – not Classical Wisdom. Invoking Plato, the HOMOSEXUAL’S HOMOSEXUAL in defense of anti-gay rhetoric is, at last, the most laughable and ludicrous thing of all. “Homosexuality,” Plato wrote, “is regarded as shameful by barbarians and by those who live under despotic governments just as philosophy is regarded as shameful by them, because it is apparently not in the interest of such rulers to have great ideas engendered in their subjects, or powerful friendships or passionate love-all of which homosexuality is particularly apt to produce.” I hope that BCC and all like-minded people can finally just get over it. What is “natural law” for one isn’t “natural law” for everyone. Live and let live, BCC. Or as Plato said, “Any man may easily do harm, but not every man can do good to another. “

  10. Alan

    30 June

    While the “classical philosophy” post is gone, a new one is up today, check it out.Aaron describes the controversy as “…when you say things that cut a little close to the quick for some people you can expect a range of reactions”. See, we liberals, gays, hippies, etc. just need a thicker skin. Additionally, in order to take the focus off his company, he’s hoping some U.S. military operation will happen; “…hoping maybe our military decided to bomb Bermuda or something so the subject could be changed”. How about another priest molestation? Or maybe another Midwest tornado to blow the smoke in another direction? School shooting? Sure he’s being cute, his entire response has been flippant. He goes on to say how all the press has actually given him extra business (from all his right wing followers); “…I think we had our second biggest sales day ever, second only to the last day before Christmas last year”. You know, I’ve really been wanting to cut this Aaron some slack and believe he really isn’t a hurtful bigot but this last post really “cuts to the quick” on just what a mean and bitter person this fellow is. He should listen to the “…friends (and businesses–get it?) in this industry that… can no longer associate with [him] because of [his] beliefs”. You are a businessman Aaron, keep your right wing beliefs to yourself and just sell coffee and you won’t continue to find yourself in hot water. Walmart doesn’t get customers by posting just how mean and hurtful they are to suppliers: they keep their methods to themselves and the ignorant masses just keep coming to the sweatshop leader in droves.

  11. Al

    30 June

    Jay C, it is not the same. (BTW: I am one of those minorities and I married a white woman and I live in the Oklahoma and no one cares).

    There are two issues here. One is the law, that is man’s law, and the other is God’s law. God’s law is clear, even to those of you who believe in no God, because it has been written deep in your heart.

    It is a no brainer that men and women were created different right down to the DNA. Gays want to say there is no difference and that one can just mix and match the sexes. This is dishonest-biologically, morally, and spiritually.

    To associate this issue to skin color is also dishonest because a black man and a white man are not different before God, nor biology.

    Choose for yourself which issue you wish to debate and we can go from there.

    God’s law which is also the law of nature is very clear on this point. God created a man to be with a woman and not man with man or woman with woman. I scratch my head wondering why I need to explain this.

    Al

  12. Jay C.

    30 June

    Al-
    You’re free to find same sex marriages not to your preference, however do you realize that the arguments presented by those opposed to same sex marriages today sound extremely similar to the reasons presented by those who outlawed blacks and “mongoloids” from marrying whites?

    It was only some 40 plus years ago that states barred non-whites from marrying whites and that blacks were forbidden from some churches because their skin “bore the mark of Satan.” While I understand that those opposed to same sex marriages reason that it’s “unnatural” etc, these are much the same arguments that whites used to prevent asians, latinos and blacks from marrying whites.

    No one is forcing you to marry the same sex. What people are calling for is equality under the law. Just as non-whites can now marry whites (and there’s still a portion of our population that still finds that repulsive), gays and lesbians want to marry each other. They’ve found someone to love and make a commitment – what’s the problem with that?

    Of course, perhaps those opposed to same sex marriages also find non-white/white marriages disgusting and immoral too…

  13. Chris

    30 June

    Now they have deleted the wordpress “classical philosophy” post.

    One thing I think we can all agree about is that BCC could use some guidance on social media and public relations. Disappearing posts, locking twitter, deleted Facebook page….it all leaves a strange impression of an organization that is sticking it head in the sand and just hoping it will all go away.

  14. Mark

    29 June

    BCC tweeted an offensive tweet, posted comments on their blog that criticized people who were offended by the tweet, apologized for the tweet on their corporate web site, and then deleted the apology. Something is seriously amiss at BCC.

  15. Josh

    29 June

    I have no more experience with Aaron than sharing beers over conversation, however the fact that he entertained my ideas and conversation was enough acceptance for me. He has shown me nothing but kindness. That being said, those talking ill of Aaron without knowing him are just as guilty as the possible intentions of that post. I’ve learned a lot in the coffee industry and something I deal with everyday is that others, including coffee professionals, see things differently. As a man of acceptance sometimes I have to respect others with opposing view points. Does this mean I support them? No. But I also do not commit to harming them. I can not say what the intention of the tweet was, but I can say to Aaron and the Brown family that I am sorry our community has lashed out so harmfully in response. It is one thing for those that work with Brown to discontinue doing so it is another for others to run their mouths.

  16. Chris

    29 June

    For those interested…they have taken down the apology from the main website, but left the classical philosophy post on the blog.?!?!

  17. Agiocambos

    29 June

    It’s really, really hard to feel sorry for Aaron. First, there was the Tweet, which was truly nasty. If he’d just made his natural/human law comment, it would have been bad enough, but to append the snide, condescending additional stuff, telling marriage equality supporters to “get over it”, etc….well, that was mean on top of mean on top of stupid. And speaking of stupid, there was his initial attempt to defuse the controversy by telling all of us how stupid we were to “misinterpret” the Tweet. More stupidity. Moreover, the peek it gave us into his character gave us no reason to go easy on him. This guy not only thinks gay people’s relationships are less legitimate than his; he thinks we’re all idiots.

    Bigotry combined with arrogance is a pretty potent provocation. I cut him a little (teeny tiny bit of) slack for the inept way he handled the fallout, since we’re all winging it in the rapidly evolving world of social media, but a hateful heart is a hateful heart. And the fact is, unlike that Southwest Airlines pilot who didn’t think he was being overheard when he spouted all that homophobic, sexist stuff, Aaron knew he was speaking to the world. I know he has defenders on this site who assure us that he’s a good guy, etc., but there’s no denying that he’s got an ugly side.

    Here’s what I’d do if I were him: Well, actually, there’s probably nothing he can do except hide at this point. But if I could turn back the clock to when he was writing the second, “formal apology,” I’d have advised him to speak directly to the people he directly attacked — us gay people. I’d have told Aaron, “It’s good that you characterized the Tweet as bigoted, hateful and slanderous, but you’re losing points when you characterize yourself as not being hateful, spiteful, bigoted or intolerant, because on some level you manifestly are. I suspect you have more good qualities than bad, but let’s not kid ourselves: part of you IS hateful, spiteful, bigoted and intolerant. Own it and apologize for it.”

    I’d also advise him not to apologize for how “stupid” his post was. I’d tell him, “Aaron, your stupidity isn’t the problem here. The ugliness that you expressed so stupidly is the problem.”

    Finally, if I were his social media fallout adviser, I’d urge Aaron to head right into the lion’s den: “Use the word ‘gay’; use the word ‘homophobic.’ Now’s the time to really fall on your sword. Say something to the effect of:

    ‘What I Tweeted — me, Aaron, not anyone else in my company — was profoundly dickish. I didn’t think about it at the time, but you can be sure that I’m thinking about it now, and what I realize is that the words I Tweeted were akin to slung feces. All they did was sully the debate, stink up the party, and hurt people who have way more at stake in this issue than I could ever have. I was mean and nasty, gleefully so, and I didn’t think about the fact that gay people could really be hurt by my words. I could say some crap right now about how, if you really knew me, you’d know that I’m not homophobic, that I enjoy people, regardless of personal beliefs, but come on: I wrote what I wrote; I DO have a problem with gay people. All I can do is apologize to everyone I’ve hurt and promise you that I’m going to take a very, very deep look into my soul. I’m also going to try to think about gay people in a more careful, objective, inquiring way. For example, when I write that I ‘enjoy people regardless of personal beliefs,’ I’m reducing homosexuality to an issue of personal belief, and it’s very clear now that it’s a lot more than that. I’m not sure where I’ll end up in the journey I’m going to embark on, but I’m going to give myself every opportunity to evolve. Please help me to do that. To all my gay customers, and to all my straight customers who embrace gay people as their equals, please strike up a conversation with me on this issue. Educate me. Send me something to read. I will listen and, God willing, learn. Can I just say one more thing? It was I who made that Tweet, not my wife, not my kids, not the people I employ. I know that for a lot of you boycotting Brown Coffee feels like the right thing to do, and maybe for some of you it’s the only thing you CAN do in a situation like this, but for the sake of the people I support, for the sake of those who rely on me to put food on the table, I ask you for another chance. Please forgive me. Please give me the opportunity to do right by you. My actions haven’t just hurt you; they’ve hurt those who rely on me to put a roof over the head, to cut them the check that pays their rent, to provide the health insurance plan they need to stay well. It’s hard for me to make the case that I personally deserve your forgiveness, but I hope you’ll forgive me anyway so that I can continue to meet my responsibilities to my wife, kids and employees. Again, I’m sorry for being such a dick.”

  18. Al

    29 June

    By the way here is a thought experiment to expose your hypocrisy. If you will not buy coffee from Brown Coffee Co, then will you stop buying green coffee from producers who are also against gay marriage? Do you think that the many sincere Catholic growers and farmers are for gay marriage? I think not.

    OK, boys put your dollar where your mouth is and be consistent with your outage and let’s start boycotting everyone who opposes your liberal agenda. Let’s see how far that takes you. How many farmers, growers, and ranchers who provide you with your food do you think are more like me (Conservative, and Christian)? Hmm, you may all start loosing a little weight and be able to partake in your favorite drink.

    Al

  19. Al

    29 June

    I agree with much that Justin states. The coffee industry is lost inside a liberal bubble. Come to the south and midwest and leave the liberal confines of the west and east coast and your tone of voice may change a little.

    The Constitution does not guarantee anyone a right to marriage. This is an issue that each state will decide. And right now most states and leaders are still opposed to gay marriage. Many on here talk like it is a forgone conclusion. Not yet. Maybe in 10 years, but not yet. Yelling at us who oppose a lifestyle that is against nature is not going to make us change. Name calling does not work either.

    I opposed allowing siblings to marry as well, am I a bigoted for that belief as well? Strange indeed!

    Alright go ahead and thumb me down, but there is one commenter here who does work in the coffee industry and opposes “gay marriage”.

    Al

  20. Jay C.

    29 June

    A person slaps you and you have the right to be offended. No one is disputing that.

    It is what you do after that can make the difference. Want the intolerant to “accept” you? Why not approach them with openness and understanding? It is a tactic they will not be expecting, may disarm them and open an avenue for dialogue, discussion and perhaps insight.

    Otherwise, you’re just giving them more reasons to block your efforts.

  21. Alan

    29 June

    Jay C says “perhaps a heartfelt apology may pave the way towards greater understanding, open-mindedness and acceptance of other beliefs”. Don’t you both see that understanding, open mindedness and acceptance of intolerant behavior and actions only encourages more of the same? It’s not “bigoted” to have core beliefs that allow for love over hate; no one is saying BCC/Aaron are evil, they just appear spiritually stunted and at their core anti-GLBT, which is sad. Sad because a small, family-owned company will lose business over their need to publicly espouse mean-spirited tweets instead of working on their own “open-mindedness and acceptance of other beliefs”.

  22. Jeeps

    29 June

    I’m waiting for the part where he says it wasn’t him who posted it (that should have been the first thing to say if he wanted to get out of it).

  23. Brian

    29 June

    I’m with Jay C. on this one. The only way to end a viscous cycle of intolerance (avoiding the debated “hate”) is to tolerate and forgive those you disagree with. The “bigots” on both sides of the issue are responsible for their responses.

  24. Alan

    29 June

    It’s one thing to be (personally) opposed to gay marriage and be a business owner or Fortune 500 CEO, it’s another to be a public activist on those views using company cover. Come out and show yourselves so we can vote with our dollars. Same thing with a woman’s freedom of choice, many don’t support that position and I don’t shop there either. Show your bigoted face so we can turn away from darkness and see the light.

  25. Alan

    29 June

    Go to the beginning, Mark had it right. Their “philosophical musing” blog was creepy, it’s obvious the same person (no intern) sent the anti-GLBT tweet, inadvertently from their BCC account and with mud on their face and declining business they apologize. A business decision, naturally. Why not accept it (‘heartfelt’ or ‘disingenuous’) and move on, the emperor has lost his clothes, everyone knows them for what they really are and can shop accordingly. That cowardly hate has no place in specialty coffee. All is well. God bless New York.

  26. Justin

    29 June

    I fail to see why all the drama. Polls show a pretty sizable portion of Americans aren’t in favor of gay marriage, and yet these same polls show a far smaller portion are actually opposed to homosexuals/homosexuality in general. Meanwhile, plenty of people in the first group (and probably plenty in the second) are owners or stockholders or managers of business that every one of us frequents. Do Steve Jobs’ views on state marriage policies really affect the performance of my iPhone? Does Aaron’s views on marriage — if they are his, and no one has damning proof that they are (or exactly what they are) — change the fact that he roasts great coffee? I guarantee that a good number of farmers who grow those organic tomatoes or grain-fed bison that you love to enjoy at your favorite restaurant are opposed to gay marriage, but it doesn’t change their commitment to craft and their hard work and the wonderful things that result from it.

    Point being: Mistake made — and lesson surely learned — in this changing world of communications. It doesn’t prove much of anything, not if we’re being in the least bit gracious, and it doesn’t have anything to do with great coffee.

  27. Chris

    29 June

    @Jay C.

    Who said anything about “HATE”? Taking my business elsewhere, and asking my friends, clients, and vendors to do the same isn’t hate. I simply choose to place my dollars in the hands of people who don’t use their business accounts to spew their personal beliefs about other peoples civil rights.
    They are more than welcome to their opinion. And I am allowed to stop patronizing them. No hate,
    And by the way, I have yet to see an actual apology. I have seen the “I am sorry you were offended” non apology, and the “it was classical philosophy and stop lying about us” non apology, but no actual apology.

    Now if the owner (this seems to be a one man operation), really feels the way he tweeted, that’s fine. Own it and accept the consequences. Gay people have been doing it for decades, risking family and career to come out and be themselves.

  28. Jay C.

    29 June

    Gentlemen-
    To my mind, it is a relatively simple manner. A person has made an error (and I consider posting such political/religious beliefs to twitter an error) and has made an apology for it. I do understand the consternation and questions on your parts regarding the veracity of said apology.

    However, it has been my upbringing that when someone offers an apology for an offense that it be taken at face value and accepted. This is not to say that the offense is forgotten but rather put to past history and we move forward.

    I understand the offense and anger that a number of you feel but you have to let that go. Fostering anger only leads to hate and extremism. Martin Luther King, Jr. preached that we get along and develop understanding. He did not preach hate.

    There will be those who will stand against the GBLT Community, don’t prove them “right” by matching their intolerance with hate. No understanding, forward movement or acceptance can be reached on that path.

    It’s just like dealing with customers, you’ll never get to show them the wonderful nuances of your coffee if you call them an “asshat” because they told you they thought Starbucks Caramel Macchiato was the best coffee.

  29. Phillip Rober

    29 June

    What a crock, I believe someone also mumbled an apology to the Native American Indians decades ago. Point being, Aaron Brown has made his feelings on homosexuality quite clear and unfortunately for him, public. I’ll never frequent a place that serves any Brown Coffee products!

  30. Mark

    28 June

    Jay –

    Why would someone apologize for expressing a heartfelt sentiment? I believe in marriage equality, regularly express my support for the issue on a number of social media platforms, and will never apologize for my stance. If an intern or unauthorized staff member at BCC sent out the tweet, the company should say as much and explain their position (or lack thereof) on the issue. If Aaron Blanco sent the tweet, he should own it regardless of the reaction the company has received. The person who sent the tweet can’t issue a “heartfelt apology” unless they’ve had a sudden and unexpected epiphany on the concept of marriage equality. And that probably hasn’t happened. Really, can apologies intended to protect a brand and the bottom line ever be heartfelt?

    Best,

    Mark

  31. drew woods

    28 June

    not to detract from your sentiment at all jay, which i think is totally valuable, but i am guessing you and mark may disagree about the “heartfelt” status of blanco’s communications.

    apologies for offensiveness, to me, seem disingenuous. if blanco et al really believe in what they said on the brown coffee co. tweet, they should not be ashamed of letting everyone know that they are bigoted asshats.

  32. Jay C.

    28 June

    Mark-

    Have you considered that perhaps a heartfelt apology may pave the way towards greater understanding, open-mindedness and acceptance of other beliefs?

  33. Mark

    28 June

    Brown Coffee Company seems to be having trouble figuring out who or what they are. Their blog (WordPress) is anything but contrite and accuses people of distorting a tweet that was supposedly nothing more than “philosophical musing.” But now they’re sorry they’ve caused offense. I spent a few minutes researching the Blanco clan. I suspect they sent the tweet, but inadvertently sent it from a company account. Regardless of who challenges me, I stand steadfast in my support for marriage equality. Perhaps they should stand by their beliefs regardless of the consequences.

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