Freedom of speech is an inherent right for all Americans. Along with rights come responsibilities and consequences.
The owner of three Galveston restaurants is taking heat over racist and anti-gay posts on his social media page. Rudy Betancourt owns Black Pearl and Press Box in downtown Galveston. He is also the owner of Safari Beach Company on the Seawall.
All three venues have enjoyed excellent reviews ranging from 4.2 to 4.5. That stellar reputation is in jeopardy due to the posts made by the owner on his personal Facebook page.
One post shared by Betancourt shows the Confederate battle flag beneath the words “If this flag goes.” Under that image are the words “These two have to go too” with images of the rainbow flag and the Black liberation flag, both with the “No” symbol superimposed over them.
Another post by the restaurant entrepreneur shows three white beach revelers with the heading “White Lives Matter.” The poster appears to be promoting a get-together on Crystal Beach over the Fourth of July weekend.
There were other racist and homophobic posts on Betancourt’s page until he took down the page. The Facebook page for Black Pearl and Press Box has also disappeared. Safari’s page is still visible but appears to be inactive and comments are blocked.
Another person called for a boycott. She wrote, “Don’t give this dude your money! He already deleted this post but he has so much more for you to check out! Lol.”
Another review reads, “Today, inhuman garbage news, I present to you, Rudy Betancourt. He is the owner of 3 local establishments in the Houston/Galveston area. Black Pearl, Press Box Bar, Safari Bar. Let’s show him how we deal with racists, shall we?”
Galveston, home to about 50,000 people, has a sizable LGBTQ population and is home to at least three gay bars. Several of those people have already made their feelings known and indicate they will not be patronizing establishments with anti-gay ownership.