Gay Greytown restaurant owners overwhelmed by support

Author
NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Tue, 19 Nov 2019, 4:17PM
The owners say the incident hurt them but the support they've had has been overwhelming. Photo / Instagram
The owners say the incident hurt them but the support they've had has been overwhelming. Photo / Instagram

Gay Greytown restaurant owners overwhelmed by support

Author
NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Tue, 19 Nov 2019, 4:17PM

The owner of a Greytown restaurant says there are no words to describe the outpouring of support they've received following a homophobic comment.

In a review posted to Facebook a customer revealed a shopkeeper had told her not to go to Saluté because the owners were two American "gay men".

"Came to Greytown this weekend with my wife and our friends for a chill day, looking at the shops. Asked by a shopkeeper where we were going to have lunch we said Saluté looked good online. We were told it was owned by two gay men from America and that 'locals don't eat there'," Alexia Black wrote.

The restaurant is owned Ken Miller and his husband Jason Brumbaugh who previously lived in Westport.

Miller said they were getting calls from the US, Australia and even Europe to book a table at their restaurant following the post.

"All we're hoping is that this creates a conversation to figure out why this happened and how we can stop this going forward," Miller said.

He said they were humbled by the extraordinary response they had received about their story.

Restaurant owners Ken Miller and Jason Brumbaugh say they have many locals frequenting their restaurant despite the comment saying otherwise.
Restaurant owners Ken Miller and Jason Brumbaugh say they have many locals frequenting their restaurant despite the comment saying otherwise.

"I think it's such a shocking thing that has happened because we don't experience that and we don't feel excluded and we don't feel like we don't belong here."

Miller said they had only received one other homophobic comment in New Zealand from a church minister in the South Island.

He said the couple were discussing their upcoming 25th anniversary at a cafe when the minister approached them and told the men they were living in sin.

Miller was blown away when diners stood up in support of the pair and said other patrons confronted the man and he eventually left.

Wairarapa-based List MP Kieran McAnulty said the comments did not reflect on the town's generally progressive views.

"I think this whole exercise would have made that shopkeeper rethink their position."

He said the Wairarapa elected the world's first transgender MP and said Saluté was one of the best restaurants in New Zealand.

South Wairarapa Mayor Alex Beijin said Greytown was a very inclusive town and the comments were shocking.

"Its great there's an outswelling of support for Saluté and its owners, but it's an unfortunate positive."

He said this might open up discussions to do with inclusiveness throughout New Zealand.

The original review received over four thousand reactions, 1700 shares and over 700 comments on Facebook.

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