After the tale of Arkansas politician John La Tour demanding a barista prove her gender and assuring he could prove his own by dropping his pants went viral, he’s now apologizing for what he maintains was a weak attempt at humor. Since La Tour’s alleged inquiries into the gender of a barista, the series of events has been a whirlwind: the barista says she forgives the councilman and would happily take him up on a dance, but the public is calling for his resignation.
The following Facebook post went viral over the weekend, the Arkansas Times reports, sharing the tale of Alderman John La Tour’s visit to a local coffee shop. According to the post, La Tour accosted a barista and demanded to know whether she was a man or woman. When the barista declined to engage in the conversation, La Tour allegedly declared that he could prove his own gender by dropping his pants.
Shortly after the post began to be shared widely, La Tour’s Facebook page was updated with a new message, declaring a boycott of the shop where the incident took place and any other business by the same owner. That post has since been deleted but can be seen in a screenshot below.
Before long, there were calls for La Tour’s resignation.
One petition declares La Tour “politically unfit” and describes him, aside from the recent incident, as “disrespectful of city staff, uninformed at City Council meetings, and belligerent and combative with constituents.”
After deleting numerous posts from his page on Monday, La Tour updated with a response to the petitions, letting it be known that he was in no hurry to turn in a resignation.
“Just in case you were wondering, John La Tour is no quitter!”
The barista, Greta Allendorf, addressed the scandal on Tuesday, reportedly posting a message on his Facebook page. Although the post no longer exists, the content was archived by KNWA. It can be read in full here, but in the excerpt below, you can see that Allendorf is willing to forgive but also hopes that La Tour will resign.
“I hope this weekend has shown you that you are governing a community that doesn’t share your oppressive belief system and doesn’t tolerate this kind of treatment of it’s citizens, regardless of the gender they identify with. We no longer see you fit for duty. I hope you choose to resign your post, but if not, maybe you can choose to move forward, regardless of your beliefs, with an attitude of respect, compassion, and humanness towards your constituents. We’re all in this together.
“And for the record, I declare myself woman. And I love to dance. If you can put aside the fear and hate, I’d love to take you up on that dance, regardless of how you identify.
On Wednesday, La Tour offered an apology to anyone who had been “cause[d] pain or harm” by his behavior.
“I (first person) have been reflecting on the events of last Friday morning. I have now concluded that when a restaurant where I am dinning [sic] is playing music too loud, I should just simply leave. I made a snap decision to try a weak attempt at humor instead. This I will not do again. I never intended to cause pain or harm to anyone. If I did in the process, I sincerely apologize.”
Not all of the constituents responding to his post appear satisfied with the apology, calling him out for the word “if,” for blaming the incident on the volume of the music, and for thinking that “pick a gender” can be passed off as a bad joke. Others are thanking him for the apology and assuring the politician that everyone makes mistakes.
Petitions for John La Tour’s resignation continue to circulate.
[Image via Facebook]