Customers are rallying around a Massachusetts restaurant after the owners said they received hate mail because of their gay pride flag.
The letter was addressed to Bonefish Harry's in Beverly and posted on the restaurant's Facebook page. In it, a man claiming to be a long-time customer calls the rainbow flag a "disappointment" and condemns the restaurant for publicly supporting "immoral activity."
Restaurant employees have not been able to track down the anonymous author who also asked for the flag to be removed, but they were outraged after reading it.
"I think it's embarrassing and just sad," said bartender Kiri Rostad. "There was no return address so it just seemed bizarre."
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The restaurant's owners posted the letter online with their own message that they would not be bullied into taking it down. Employees were shocked to see the support that came after it.
"It gives me goosebumps. I've been brought to tears so many times over the last two days," said Rostad.
The restaurant's original post received thousands of likes, comments and shares. New customers are coming in from all over to support the seafood establishment. Cards and flowers were also being delivered.
Gail O'Docherty and her friends came from Gloucester and Rockport for lunch Friday after hearing about the hate mail.
"I had seen it on my Facebook and I said we have to go to this place to support them. We have to take a stand," said O'Docherty.
There are some who think the letter was a publicity stunt, but restaurant employees said that could not be further from the truth. They just want customers to know everyone is welcome and their rainbow flag will be on display no matter what.
"It was just something really terrible that the community turned into a huge, beautiful thing," said Rostad. "And that's the one thing I will always take from this."