bbq bandits hamilton

A restaurant in Ontario is being skewered for its homophobic comments

A barbeque restaurant in Ontario recently received an onslaught of backlash and negative reviews after its social media page posted several homophobic comments. 

BBQ Bandits in Hamilton offers a selection of slow-cooked BBQ meats, from brisket, to smoked wings, and ribs. The restaurant has received a plethora of one-star reviews over the past day after its Facebook page made some shameful comments, most of which have already been deleted. 

The restaurant's Facebook page first responded to a "Draglicious Dinner" event that's being held at B-Side Social in downtown Hamilton.

The person behind the BBQ Bandits' page wrote, "why, isn't there enough weird stuff happening already, we should think of next generation kids and what we represent. Plain wrong."

bbq bandits hamilton

A screenshot of one of the now deleted comments.

Several local residents managed to grab screenshots of the ignorant comment before it was deleted, and condemned the restaurant for their reaction to the event. 

In response to the backlash, BBQ Bandits wrote in a now-deleted Facebook post, "We Bandits ain't judges, or judging we just make amazing BBQ. If men want to dress like women good for them. We ain't homophobic." 

The post went out to say that the restaurant "doesn't care one per cent if someone's gay, lesbian or straight, to each his own as life is short."

The ignorant post even gained the attention of Pride Hamilton's Board of Directors, who wrote a public letter to the restaurant. 

"It has come to our attention via social media shares and screenshots, that a business named BBQ Bandits has posted hate speech on a post where a local drag performer is to host an event," the letter reads

"To see this level of hate was not only a comment regarding pedophilia, it was followed by a song that insinuates committing acts of violence against the community. Frankly, this behaviour is both shameful and disgusting. The user of the page then deleted their initial comments to post a weak excuse where accountability was clearly absent." 

In screenshots of now-deleted comments, BBQ Bandits also posted a song by reggae icon Buju Banton, titled "Boom Bye Bye." The song, which Banton has vowed to never perform again and has since removed from his catalog, contains lyrics with strong homophobic undertones. 

bbq bandits hamilton

A screenshot of another of the now deleted comments.

"These actions are why many of us leave our homes, leave this city, refrain from going out to public spaces, suffer from a trauma or traumas caused by the ignorance of another or a group, and even a business," the letter continues. "It is easy to create a harmful environment when you have never had to worry about or fight for a safe space." 

Following these events, BBQ Bandits began receiving a number of one-star reviews on Google. One person wrote, "food is seasoned with homophobia and a side dish of hate," while another said "heavily seasoned with homophobia. Avoid at all costs." 

BBQ Bandits finally uploaded a proper apology to their page on Friday, writing, "I, Ben Banwait, am truly so sorry for offending the drag show, LGBTQ community with my remarks and video." 

"I should know better as a father, husband and more importantly to be the best human being promoting love and peace. I have failed my family, the Hamilton community with my crazy remarks, and again coming from the heart I am SORRY," the post continued. 

"I am human being who made a mistake in which some or most will not forgive me, but I am owning up to my insane remarks, very humbly sorry, and sincerly hope I can gain your trust again," Banwait wrote. 

"The LGBTQ community I again apologize for my words, actions as hate, bigotry have no place in this world. I am truly sorry again [and] hope you can consider my apology genuine, and again I'm ashamed of myself."

Lead photo by

BBQ Bandits


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