CRANBERRY TOWNSHIP, Pa. (KDKA) - A local business has come under fire on social media for putting up a sign that some call transphobic. It mentioned U.S. Assistant Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine.
Customers walking in and out of Save on Beer go past a sign that has a different person's name now, but just last week it said to keep your mask on if you looked like Dr. Levine.
Some people believe it was meant to be transphobic, but the owner says the backlash is coming from people who know nothing about its employees or the original intent of the sign.
"It was a joke and it's just gotten carried away. Nothing transphobic, homophobic, any other phobics you wanna call it, folks," said owner Greg Harrold.
The owner of Save on Beer in Cranberry Township is defending himself after a social media swarm of bad press.
Harrold put up a sign outside the store saying masks aren't required inside, but under that, the sign says that if you look like Dr. Rachel Levine, then you're asked to keep it on.
"I have nothing against Rachel Levine as a person. It did not call out transgenders, it just said if you look like Rachel Levine, because we've been tired of wearing masks the last year," he said.
KDKA's Bryant Reed spoke with some customers who frequent the shop on a regular basis. They said they didn't find anything wrong with it and say the sign is in line with other humorous things Harrold has done at the store.
"I thought it was pretty funny. I think everyone is a little too sensitive. The world is too serious right now and a little humor doesn't hurt anybody," said Kristina, a customer.
Others don't find it amusing. Many people have expressed anger on Facebook and Reddit, saying the store employs transphobics and bigots. Some are even vowing to never return.
But even with the backlash, Harrold doubled down on his sign and is unapologetic.
"You can't please everybody all the time and I'm not going to please everybody all the time. Sorry I used Rachel Levine, it had nothing against transgenders, but I said it and I will not retract it."
The owner says he doesn't feel like he'll lose customers from this. He also says he's not transphobic and says he believes no matter what gender a person is, everybody's rights are the same.
for more features.