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Outrage Over Sign In Texas Bar Making Domestic Violence "Joke"

PLANO (CBSDFW.COM) - An employee erased a chalkboard sign that said, "I like my beer, like I like my violence: domestic," but not before a Collin County woman snapped a picture.

Now management at the Plano bar Scruffy Duffies is apologizing for what they say was a bad joke.

After the picture of the chalkboard went viral on Facebook Scruffy Duffies received heaps of criticism from people all over the world. The messages were from victims of domestic violence and others who want to see a change in tone when people talk about this serious issue.

Employees at Scruffy Duffies regularly write quips on the chalkboard pub signs. But patron Vanessa Vaughter says the message a waitress scrawled out last weekend wasn't funny.

"Words are power," she said. "When we put out there a message that domestic violence is a joke… there were probably lots of people in that bar that night who saw that and laughed it off. There were some that saw it and were maybe uncomfortable."

Vaughter works Hope's Door -- a Colin County domestic violence counseling center and shelter. She explained why even a flippant comment can have toxic effects.

"When we make statements in public places like that, and no one stands up to say that's not funny… then that is silently condoning that horrific behavior."

The words struck a chord with at least one female customer, Courtney Williams, who asked an employee to take the sign down. When they refused, the woman snapped a picture and posted it to Facebook. The post has since been shared more than 1,700 times.

Scruffy Duffies owner apologized. The manager-on-duty was suspended without pay. Now the owner plans to bring in counselors from Hope's Door for employee sensitivity training.

Scruffy Duffies co-owner statement --

"Thank you for your response. This was an isolated event executed by an employee that made a bad decision followed by a manager that did not recognize and fix the problem. Obviously not everybody's sense of humor is the same. My brother and I are the owners at Scruffy Duffle's and we agree that it was very distasteful and offensive. Had we been aware or seen this post we would've immediately taken it down. We apologize to anybody who was offended. We did investigate this issue further and our general manager has since been fired. In our eyes it was his responsibility to recognize and not allow something of this matter to take place in our stores. We will ensure that something like this will never happen again."

Brian Harder

(©2014 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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