When we learned the manager of Los Angeles restaurant El Coyote donated to Prop 8, there was outrage and boycotts from gay clientele. In Oklahoma City, it’s Flip’s Wine Bar and Trattoria at the center of a new boycott. But this time because its co-owner, as a member of the Oklahoma City School Board, voted to fire an openly gay teacher. Well, that’s not gonna be good for business.
Gail Vines (pictured), who owns a stake in Flip’s, joined five others on the board to oust Joe Quigley, an openly gay teacher at Northwest Classen High School (“Home of the Knights!”), who also started the school’s gay-straight alliance. Fired in May for “poor teaching,” Quigley countered with a complaint that he was fired for his sexuality, and a judge ruled he was competent to teach. The board appealed, but Quigley is back in the classroom at a different school while a judge weighs in on the appeal.
But for now, supporters of Quigley (pictured) are boycotting Flip’s (Facebook page here) — and, according to Vines, calling in with harassing phone calls.
Except, uh, even Quigley sides with Vines in one respect, claiming he wasn’t fired for being gay — just for vociferously standing up for gay rights. (He hasn’t officially stated whether he supports the boycott or not.)
Further explains the Oklahoma blog Gossip Boy:
Flip’s co-owner Gail Vines, along with five other members of the OKC School Board (Steve Shafer, David Costello, Lyn Watson, Thelma Parks, and Phil Horning), openly defied an August court order that mandated the immediate reinstatement of gay school teacher Joseph Quigley, who a judge found had been wrongfully terminated and bias was involved in his firing. Despite the order from Judge Barbara Swinton, Vines and the others refused to allow Quigley back into the classroom. After Swinton threatened the board with contempt, the board relented and the teacher is back on the job for the time being.
Vines’ business was chosen as a boycott target due to her self-proclaimed support of the LGBT Community and the fact that other school board members lacked an actual business to challenge.
After the effects of the boycott began being felt by the restaurant, several of Vines’ employees, vendors, and friends began a counter boycott that saw several of them trashing the character of Quigley and his competency. Led by Chad Bleakley, the group began libeling Quigley on the Boycott Flip’s Facebook page and attempted to troll the board with their support for Vines and dismissal of the LGBT Community’s feelings.
Bleakley stated that if the Community is going to boycott Flip’s they would need to go ahead and boycott his restaurant VZDs. It appears the Community is ready to comply with that request.
In one of his posts he said, “This is a an issue of incompetence and lack of professionalism, not a gay rights issue. Quigley does an injustice to those seeking equal protection under the law playing the equivalent of the “race card”.”
The focus of Bleakley’s attack, Joe Quigley, is not a part of the boycott, but is being targeted by members of Bleakley’s group despite their assurances it is only to defend Vines. In October Quigley began working at US Grant High School. He chose to discontinue grievances against the district and concentrate on teaching. It is his hope that a resolution can be obtained that stops the district’s excessive legal spending and that will ultimately lead to a compromise that will see LGBT student protections in school policies.
It’s really as simple as this: If Quigley was a bad teacher, let him go. But presented with the evidence, a judge found otherwise. (It’s unclear what started an investigation into Quigley’s allegedly poor teaching practices.) But if he’s been ousted because he wants to foster a safe environment for queer students, then go ahead, boycott the shit out of those responsible for his removal.
(Video report here)