In today’s LA Times, Steve Lopez claims he won’t take back any of what he wrote on Sunday about the ongoing El Coyote restaurant boycott being unfair to the employees of owner/manager/Yes on Prop 8-donor Margie Christoffersen, but there is a whiff of back pedaling as he recounts several of the emails he received from readers who disagreed with him.
(An aside: When the story broke last month, Christoffersen was identified as “the owner,” then “an owner,” then “a manager-owner” and now she is identified as “a manager.” Do I smell an attempt at damage control?)
In his column on Sunday, Lopez wrote of the distress (actually he said “blubbering”) that came forth from Christoffersen when they recently met at a diner at the Farmer’s Market; business at El Coyote has dropped off by 30% since the boycott began. Lopez also quotes employees who support her, opposed Prop 8 and extoll the virtues of living in a free society. I assume that includes the right to boycott, or to patronize businesses that you please or that please you.
Christoffersen’s husband tells Lopez “she will never, ever be back here on a Thursday night,” which was the restaurant’s big gay night for years, so I guess that means she’s boycotting her own restaurant too.
Of course I don’t think Lopez is a bigot, like many emails accused him of being after the Sunday column. I imagine if you had me clutching hands across the table with a distressed, sobbing woman known for her cheery, embracing demeanor in a lighter setting it would put a layer of humanity on a political blitzkreig raging around you.
What I find objectionable about Lopez’s take on all of this is the twisted logic he seems to be applying here. He seems to be saying gays boycotting El Coyote is unfair to its employees who may lose their jobs as a result. He foists the responsibility for their well being from Christoffersen onto the backs of gays, which is ridiculous.
Christoffersen should have thought about the possible fall-out of her actions and what they really meant: The Mormon church was telling her to deprive the right to marry to gays in the name of “god.” No matter that she made money off of them, no matter that she “loved them like everybody else.” I wonder if she would have made the donation if she knew her name would be on a public record saying she had.
Lopez is one of the (remaining) best columnists at LAT and I’m usually on his side but not when it comes to the El Coyote boycott. Still, I want to give him a big, wet, sloppy gay kiss for his open disdain for organized religion and the maliciously corroding effects it unleashes on society.
In the long run, the fortunes of a restaurant popular with gays on Thursdays are not what’s at stake here. It’s about mutual respect being a two-way street and woe to those who get caught trying to have it both ways.