CHARLOTTE — A message announcing yoga class cancellations turned into a bit of a controversy this week after the studio’s owner described snow closings as “gay.”
Tanner Bazemore, owner of Y2 Yoga located in the Cotswold shopping center, sent the message via email and Twitter, according to FOX Charlotte.
The message read, in part, “Greetings! I know it sounds gay, but we are definitely less gay across the bored (sic) when compared to CMS, BOA, etc, etc.” and “Closing completely because of some white stuff is being uber gay!”
At the end of the message, Bazemore included several disclaimers. In one, he said he was using “gay” as defined by urbandictionary.com: “a generic insult. It can mean bad, stupid, whatever you want it to mean.”
In a second disclaimer, Bazemore said, “Y2 Yoga is in full support of whatever your sexual prowess might be: straight or homosexual (especially chicks… just kidding…. not kidding…. whatever…). Also, pedophiles be damned or at least contract Ebola die and painful and agonizingly slow death.”
Charlotteans have responded to the offensive email. Renae Elam, president of the Charlotte Business Guild, told FOX Charlotte, “All of the disclaimers at the end actually made the meat, or the body, of the email even worse than it was. The disclaimers were more offensive than the actual email itself. In my opinion, it’s never a good idea to use potentially offensive remarks in a business setting.”
On Twitter a community member said, “@Y2Yoga Are you 12 years old? Yoga has obviously brought you no enlightenment — only homophobia. How sad. Avoid this ignorant place!!!”
And a Y2 Yoga student also responded via Twitter: “I am gay and have always felt safe inside a yoga studio. Now…I feel as though my safety place of peace has been violated. I will be attending a different studio from here on.”
Bazemore has since apologized for his language. In an apology email, Bazemore said, “First apologies to anyone who took offense to my email last night. I take for granted that the things I say will always be received in the way in which I intended them to be and for some that was not the case. My intentions were light-hearted and I’m sorry if you did not receive it that way.”
He added, “As you can clearly see, that last night I was in no position to write that email as my head was up my own… butt. No more wine while writing drishtis!
Bazemore also sent FOX Charlotte a video message.
“I just want to say that there is a difference between Tanner the person and Y2 the yoga studio,” Bazemore told the station. “I’m deeply sorry for anyone that was offended by my email. While I might be a moron, I’m not a hurtful person.”
Following his apologies, Bazemore made a $1,000 donation to the It Gets Better Project.
The offensive email from Y2 Yoga is the latest in a recent string of anti-LGBT incidents in Charlotte. In late December, Mecklenburg County Commissioner Bill James said “homosexuals are sexual predators” in an email to his commission colleagues and later compared LGBT people to prostitutes and pedophiles. The county commission later adopted a resolution denouncing such language.
Last week, The Charlotte Observer reported on a bar spat in which employees of Uptown’s Dixie Tavern told a couple, “Good, we don’t want to serve lesbians here anyway.” The manager of that business has also apologized.