Sign on Caitlyn Jenner Turns Into Teachable Moment for Philly Restaurant Owners

Our post on Center City’s The Smith’s Jenner chalkboard sign obviously caught a lot of people’s attention. One of them was Nellie Fitzpatrick, the City of Philadelphia Director of LGBT Affairs.

I just got off the phone with Ms. Fitzpatrick, who told me she went immediately to the restaurant after reading our post to speak with the owner and the manager. In short, her conversation with the folks at Smith’s turned into quite a teachable moment.

“They had no idea how hurtful it was,” she said, referencing the sign which read “If Bruce Jenner goes missing will his picture be on a carton of half and half.” “They were extremely apologetic and listened to all the information, about trans suicide rates, about homelessness. They listened about all of the initiatives we have in the city.”

The men also admitted that their signature signs had, at times, gone too far, and that they had debated about pulling them completely, but opted not to because they made some people laugh. However, when Fitzpatrick showed up, she said the two men dropped everything and listened to her for over an hour.

“They admitted that they messed up and they wanted to learn more,” she said. “They asked what they can do to help, which is huge.”

One of the things that came out of the meeting was that Fitzpatrick’s office agreed to facilitate a training for all Smith’s employees as the management agreed that they wanted “the entire staff to know.”

“They were blown away,” Fitzpatrick said. “They are completely against bullying. It was a horrible sign they put up, and hurtful, but they owned their ignorance and wanted to learn more.”

Ms. Fitzpatrick informed me that she was headed back to her office to compile further resources and information to share with the folks at the Smith’s. However, the two men displayed quite a different sign this morning which reads:

Breaking News: Two Cisgender White Men Learned Something Today.”