To whom it may concern:
And this concerns ALL of you.
The Hot Tin Roof encourages Proud Boys, in full dress, to patronize their business and rub elbows with its largely young, diverse, gender-fluid, queer, and progressively open-minded clientele.
This is a recipe for disaster.
Pride flags or Proud boys? You can’t have it both ways and expect downtown, or the local economy, to flourish. Terrorism or tourism? You make the call.
I don’t need to explain who the Proud Boys are. We all saw the violent insurrection on January 6, 2021. People died. They killed one Capitol Police officer and engaged in hand-to-hand combat with others. For hours.
As well, I have zero tolerance for cop killers and their supporters.
I went to the Hot Tin Roof on Saturday night, June 26, 2021. Proud boys in Proud Boy outfits were everywhere. I was enraged and complained. Kim Tesoro, owner of Hot Tin Roof, told me, “Colin, calm down,” and I left.
Ms. Tesoro and co-owner Mark Bateman sit on the Hillsborough Tourism Board. She is the vice-chair of the Tourism Board. The Tourism Board is responsible for the allocation of taxpayer dollars for events in Hillsborough. Ms. Tesoro also serves as the CEO of the Hillsborough Chamber of Commerce; the CEO of the Hillsborough Chamber of Commerce is a paid position funded through Chamber dues and some taxpayer dollars.
Look at the Chamber’s mission statement. Kim Tesoro is unfit for her position.
However, the ripple effects from the selfish and short-sighted business decisions of Mr. Bateman and Ms. Tesoro will, over time, negatively impact other downtown businesses and the town’s ability to attract visitors, new residents, and new investment.
This is completely unacceptable. And untenable.
I was asked to calm down. The Proud Boys were allowed to stay. Hot Tin Roof security video recorded everything that happened. It needs to be reviewed by the Town Board, as well as Local and Federal Law Enforcement looking for domestic terrorists.
If the Hot Tin Roof wants to become a safe harbor for domestic terrorists, they are a private business. Let them shoot themselves in the foot all they want.
A Proud Boy bar in the heart of downtown will be a lingering stain on the town, and the stink of its presence will keep a lot of people away, just when we need them most for the Covid recovery.
Use your authority, courage, and personal integrity, along with the charters and bylaws of your organizations, government bodies, and formal committees, to remove Mr. Bateman and Ms. Tesoro from their positions immediately. They have disqualified themselves for those positions, and allowing them to continue in them is a slap in the face to the taxpayers of Hillsborough and Orange County.
As community leaders, each of you will be answering for your actions regarding this matter in forthcoming meetings, in the press, and most certainly as you move around town campaigning for the election.
In other words, lead.
T. Colin Dodd
Hot Tin Roof posted the following statement on its Facebook page this morning:
We are deeply saddened by the allegations made by Mr. Dodd and we would like to take the opportunity to address it publically (sic).
Hot Tin Roof has enjoyed a long history of inclusivity and diversity with our clients which we have worked very hard to ensure as a reflection of our own beliefs and convictions. We absolutely do not endorse or support in any way any kind of racist behavior, not now and not ever.
Effective immediately, we are posting rules that absolutely prohibit anyone from wearing or bringing to our business any kind of insignia, emblems, etc. which represents any kind of hate group, including specifically the Proud Boys. Should any event like this happen again, staff will be trained to use the rules to have the person or persons removed from the premises immediately.
We welcome the opportunity to move forward from this very unfortunate event with our customers and our community and with the resolve to continue our efforts to provide an inclusive environment free from any form of hate or racism of any kind.
The INDY reached out to Hot Tin Roof owner Kim Tesoro, who is the CEO of the Hillsborough Chamber of Commerce as well as co-owner of Hot Tin Roof, for comment. She said an attorney will be in contact soon. Check back for updates.
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