ATLANTA — UPDATE: Channel 2 Action News has learned a potential sale of a popular midtown bar fell through. The bar will not be open Saturday night.
Confirmed: Burkhart’s not opening tonight. Owner tells me sale fell through. Possibly opening tomorrow. Owner says she and her husband are not racist despite controversial Facebook posts that have circulated #nightbeat— Lauren Pozen WSB (@LaurenPozenWSB) January 27, 2018
A week after controversial Facebook posts surfaced on the account of the owner of Burkhart's Pub, a manger said the bar had been sold to new owners.
Palmer Marsh, 70, had owned the gay and drag bar in Atlanta's Ansley Square for decades.
Popular Atlanta drag queens took to social media to say that all entertainers quit the venue.
The backlash follows the circulation early this week of a screenshot that appears to show Marsh using a racial slur about former President Barack Obama.
That post did not appear on Marsh's page when initially reviewed by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Tuesday afternoon. A different, recent post on his page, that also elicited angry comments, was taken down or removed from public view Tuesday evening.
Other posts in the screenshot do appear on Marsh’s account, including one that reads: “If the South had won, we would be a hell of a lot better off.” Another says: “My Confederate money that I inherited is on my kitchen counter. RIGHT NOW! Steal the money, if you like, but don't try to take my flag because you might get seriously injured by doing so.” Those posts are both from 2015.
“Silence is acceptance and we have been silent for far too long,” Burkhart’s entertainer Shavonna Brooks said.
Channel 2's Lauren Pozen learned Friday that the bar was supposed to open Saturday under new ownership.
Bar manager Douglas Youngblood said the change in ownership is good for all invested.
“I think it’s the best thing for the bar. I think it’s the best thing for my staff. This is good news,” he said.
Youngblood said he hopes the entertainers who left will return to the stage.
“I am willing to certainly talk to them to see if they want to come back. I would like Burkhart’s to return to the industry it was, which was an accepting institution. We have the most diverse clientele. I would like to see that again,” he said.
While Burkhart's will remain open for business, that is not the case for some of the other gay bars that have closed in recent months.
There will be a town hall meeting Saturday to address the issue.
“Some of these places shut down, then it’s discouraging because you don’t really have a place to go and be yourself,” entertainer Alissah Brooks said.
The new owners of Burkhart’s stopped by the bar Friday night to take inventory. The bar manager said the business will be back open with the same staff that people have come to love.
Cox Media Group