Entertainers quit Burkhart’s over racist social media posts

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The entertainers who perform in the weekly schedule of drag shows at Burkhart's resigned on Thursday, just days after the popular Midtown gay bar became embroiled in controversy over racist social media posts.

The venue's entertainment director, Phoenix, announced the resignations in a Facebook post.

There comes a moment when things come to a head and you have to say when enough is enough. 

As most know there's been some current uprising, due to comments that the owner made on social media. With this there’s also been a lack of acknowledgement from owners/ management. Through out this ordeal, Myself, along with several girls have been attacked personally and dragged in the middle of this. 

For me personally, and not going in to detail and trying to be as professional as possible, I've dealt with LOTS over these years, but I've stuck it out for many reasons… People don’t understand, I’m not only financially in this but also emotionally and creatively invested. So this next part is difficult for me.

It pains me and also terrifies me to say, that I've officially turned in my resignation, beginning now. Also, as a whole, all entertainers that are under my direction have turned in their resignation.

Also on Thursday, Brigitte Bidet – the creator and headliner of Tossed Salad on Sundays – confirmed that the show is leaving Burkhart's. The move ends a three-year run at the bar for Tossed Salad, which moved to Burkhart's in January 2015.

Bidet told Project Q Atlanta that the decision to leave Burkhart's was a difficult one that the performers struggled with for several days.

“At the end of the day we can only do what we feel is ethical, and our thoughts go to those still employed by Burkhart's who are suffering because of the owners,” Bidet said.

“No matter how you did the equation, the money still went to Palmer and Mary. Their lack of interest in resolving the situation was too disturbing for any of us to look beyond that, no matter the cost or how it could affect our livelihood,” Bidet added.

Tossed Salad is moving to My Sister's Room with the first show on Sunday, January 28, at 10 p.m.

“MSR welcomed us with open arms and has been vocal about their position to help those of us in the community affected by this devastating news. The show will now start at 10, just to give everyone more time to dance, if anything else. We are incredibly grateful for this new home and look forward to more amazing Sunday nights at My Sister's Room,” Bidet said.

Shavonna Brooks, who headlined Femme Fatale at the bar, also announced in a Facebook post that she's leaving the bar.

Today THE ENTIRE ENTERTAINMENT STAFF resigned from Burkhart’s Pub! For 11 years I’ve stood back and collected a check and went home. The community is just as hurt as we are by the actions of an owner who has NEVER cared about what comes out of his mouth. We have taken this for too long, and now we are taking it from the community! SO after 11 years of service to the bar, I am no longer an employee of Burkhart’s Pub Atlanta! I have no idea how I’m, or for the matter any of us are gonna make it. BUT GOD!

Please support every girl affected in this horrible situation we are facing!

The Armorettes, which recently celebrated its 39th anniversary with a show at Burkhart's, announced late Thursday that it cancelled this Sunday's show at the bar.

Before the entertainers left, Burkhart's offered a full schedule of shows that included Dance Floor Divas on Thursday, Femme Fatale on Fridays, Synergy on Saturdays and Tossed Salad and the Armorettes on Sundays.

Burkhart's has been embroiled in controversy since a Wussy Mag story exposed a series of racist and offensive posts from the Facebook account of Palmer Marsh, who co-owns the bar with his wife Mary. One of the posts from 2015 refers to then President Obama with a racist slur, while others praise “Confederate values.”

The Wussy story, published Jan. 19, sparked widespread media coverage and calls for boycotting the bar.

The Georgia Voice uncovered an additional post from Marsh's Facebook account from 2015 that supports the Confederate flag.

Marsh has not spoken publicly since the controversy erupted and did not respond to requests for comment from Wussy, Georgia Voice, the AJC and Project Q.

In a statement to the Georgia Voice, Don Hunnewell – the bar's general manager – said he will continue to oversee the daily operations but may leave Burkhart's in the future.

As general manager, my first obligation is to maintain and care for the hard-working staff who have dedicated many years to serving a huge loyal customer base that have become very close to the staff from years of pouring not just drinks, but pouring from theirs hearts.

The awesome staff I have the privilege to lead each day deserve so much better. It’s because of this dedicated staff that I too must soldier on today.

I have an immediate obligation to those dedicated souls and once their lives are stabilized I will seek new opportunities. In the meantime, I will maintain the daily operations and will happily deliver any and all purchase offers. Palmer and Mary Marsh have been retired since I arrived as GM and have had no active participation in the operations. I am honored to have such a high level of complete trust, but this is not what I signed up for.

On Thursday, Hunnewell declined to comment to Project Q about the controversy or the departure of the entertainers.

The controversy prompted ATL Activate to organize a public forum on Saturday, Nearly 150 people have said they will attend Burkhart's and Racism: An Organizing Meeting.

Please invite anyone who cares to face hate or discrimination in our ATL LGBT community head on. We should all be united in our concern, our sadness and our resolve to make things right as a welcoming, loving and accepting group of people.

Earlier this week, the bar deactivated its Facebook page, though an invitation-only Burkharts VIP page was still accessible on Friday morning.

UPDATE | Angelica D'Paige, who hosted karaoke events at Burkhart's on Mondays and Tuesdays as well as headlined Synergy on Saturdays, also announced that she's qutting the bar. In her Facebook post on Thursday, she said she “won't stand for unjust things.”

I needed that job I need this job but last night I ended my employment with Burkhart's Pub I can't in good conscience stay in a place we're not only the owner but some of the employees share the same views you may not call anyone a n***** is absolutely unnecessary and uncalled for if your argument is that it means ignorance or ignorant then use the word. we all have to make our own choices in life what is good for me may not be good for the other and vice versa. I would like to thank everyone for their amazing Support over the years I have become a different person in life and I won't stand for unjust things I can't and I won't!!! But please continue to support me around the city I will be out just not there. I love and support all of my Drag sisters and like I said earlier we all have to make this choice for ourselves!


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