Windy City Media Group Frontpage News
Celebrating 30 Years of Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Trans News
home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2019-06-19
About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage



Boystown bar owner apologizes for 'hurtful' email
by Matt Simonette

facebook twitter google +1 reddit email

The owner of Boystown nightclub Progress Bar said that his business would be closed the evening of May 30 so he and staff could address issues that arose after an internal email calling for a ban on rap music was widely circulated throughout the community via social media. That email led to accusations of racism from the Boystown business that's been open since 2013.

Owner Justin Romme said in a statement sent to Windy City Times that the email "should never have been written or sent."

Nevertheless, community groups have cancelled an event at Progress Bar, and a protest is planned the afternoon of June 2.

DJs who appeared at the club were instructed in that email, widely circulated May 29, that rap music was to be avoided at all costs, and that extra security would be in place should patrons object.

"We have implemented a no rap rule effective immediately," said the email. "This is not a suggestion!! If you play rap, you will not be invited back."

That email was publicized on local social media, where patrons, who noted that Progress Bar had largely been welcoming to persons of color, were disturbed by racist connotations.

Activist Arick Buckles wrote on Facebook, "Progress Bar at one time was my favorite [Boystown] bar. After reading their leaked email I find it extremely challenging to support this racist establishment."

Progress Bar attempted to downplay the email in a May 29 Facebook post, emphasizing that "ownership wants to make it very clear that everyone is welcome here! We value our customers and respect everyone."

That post said that the club was looking to "evolve" but valued the diversity of the LGBT community.

Buckles said that the subsequent post "falls short of correcting the damages their hurtful, racist 'leaked email" has caused."

Officials of AIDS Foundation of Chicago (AFC) and Pride Action Tank (PAT) issued a cancellation May 30 of a planned event at the nightclub: In light of the recent racially inflammatory decision made by Progress Bar to remove rap music from its DJ's rosters, [AFC and PAT] have cancelled an upcoming event scheduled to take place at the bar. We are saddened to see such an unacceptable communication from one of our valued partners. We urge Progress Bar to reverse this policy and take intentional steps to address the racial tensions caused by their poor decision."

Lighthouse Church of Chicago, Affinity Community Services and Chicago Black Gay Men's Caucus announced May 30 that they will have a protest outside Progress Bar on June 2 at 2:30 p.m.

Management of the Jeffery Pub in South Shore weighed in on the Progress Bar allegations May 30 as well. In a Facebook post, staff said, "The Jeffery Pub is the longest standing only Black owned LGBTQ bar in Chicago. We provide a safe environment welcome to all races, gender identity, sex and even sexual preference. We have a very diverse DJ staff and pose no limitations on music featured at our venue."

Romme said in the May 30 statement: "The email issued yesterday did not reflect the values of Progress Bar. The content was unwelcoming and hurtful, and in retrospect, it should have never been written or sent. We seek to be a trusted member of the LGBTQ+ community and in the city of Chicago as a welcoming place for every person no matter their race, creed or sexual orientation. We sincerely apologize to everyone in the LGBTQ+ community and across Chicago for the hurt this message caused.

"Tonight, we will be closed so we can begin working to heal the pain. When we reopen, we will do so with a renewed commitment to create a space whose patronage, atmosphere, and—yes—music reflects the diversity of our community."

CWB Chicago reported that a window had been shattered in the front of Progress Bar at about 9:30 p.m. the evening of May 26. A fight had also reportedly been broken up there in the very early morning of May 26.

CWB Chicago's report is at .

facebook twitter google +1 reddit email

Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


Gay News

HRC Chicago holds Equality Act panel discussion 2019-06-19 - Human Rights Campaign ( HRC ) Chicago hosted a panel discussion, "The Equality Act & Me," May 29 at Morningstar Inc. to highlight ...

Gay News

Commissioner looking to amend rights ordinance 2019-06-19 - Newly elected Cook County Commissioner Kevin Morrison is aiming to amend a section of the human-rights ordinance. The change would eliminate language on ...

Gay News

Reproductive Health Act is law, making Illinois a 'beacon' 2019-06-19 - CHICAGO—Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker made Illinois the most liberal state in the United States for access to reproductive health care with the strokes ...

Gay News

Aurora, Woodstock stage Pride Parades 2019-06-19 - Aurora and Woodstock are among the Chicago suburbs that staged Pride Parades this year. The Aurora Pride Parade took place June 9—and the ...

Gay News

STONEWALL AT 50 NYPD apologizes for actions 2019-06-18 - Five decades after the historic Stonewall riots that many said launched the LGBT-rights movement, the New York Police Department ( NYPD ) apologized ...

Gay News

Pridefest Milwaukee 2019-06-18 - All the colors of the rainbow at Pridefest Milwaukee. Ken Brown Photography ...

Gay News

WORLD Conversion therapy, Bermuda march, trans officer, Belgium ban 2019-06-18 - Germany plans to ban all conversion therapies under a new law to be introduced this year by German Health Minister Jens Spahn, PinkNews ...

Gay News

High court punts on Lambda case of Oregon baker refusing cake to lesbian couple 2019-06-17 - On June 17, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to decide if an Oregon baker can refuse on religious grounds to design a cake ...

Gay News

Man charged in dating-app attack 2019-06-17 - Uptown resident Cedric Johnson was charged with eight counts of aggravated battery to a peace officer and individual counts of aggravated battery with ...

Gay News

MillerCoors celebrates Pride all summer with "Tap Into Change" 2019-06-16 - CHICAGO ( June 12, 2019 ) — MillerCoors is celebrating Pride all summer long in Chicago through the "Tap Into Change" program, which ...


Copyright © 2019 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.







About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage

About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Subscriptions      Distribution      Windy City Queercast     
Queercast Archives      Advertising  Rates      Deadlines      Advanced Search     
Press  Releases      Event Photos      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Post an Event      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Blogs      Spotlight  Video     
Classifieds      Real Estate      Place a  Classified     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.