The owner of The Frogstone Grill is facing harsh criticism after a Facebook post informed breastfeeding moms of his restaurant’s breastfeeding policy and likened nursing without using a cover to the town’s topless bar.
Todd Pratt, owner of The Frogstone Grill in Maple Ridge, British Columbia, claims he has no problem with women breastfeeding at his restaurant provided that they cover up while nursing their babies. In a Facebook post, which is currently unavailable, the owner of The Frogstone Grill wrote that he doesn’t want women to “bare it all while feeding their” babies, stating that they will be asked to cover themselves, according to a CBC News report. That alone would be enough to cause a stir among supporters of public breastfeeding, as is evident from the controversy that broke out recently when a man at a T.G.I. Friday’s in Terre Haute seemingly publicly shamed a woman for nursing without a cover. What The Frogstone Grill’s Facebook post stated next, though, is topping the cake in statements restaurateurs probably shouldn’t say to breastfeeding mothers.
“There is already one topless bar in town and council won’t approve another.”
The breastfeeding controversy at The Frogstone Grill in Maple Ridge all started when Brianne McNally was allegedly told to cover up while nursing her baby, Lux, when she was visiting The Frogstone Grill.
“A lady at the restaurant just came over to the table really abruptly and just went, ‘Do you have a blanket or something to cover yourself up with?'” McNally told CBC News.
McNally left the eatery and then took the matter to Facebook. McNally says she wasn’t even showing much skin at all.
“There’s really nothing showing… her head’s covering (my breast), her hand is there,” she said. “If you don’t want to see, don’t look.”
Of course, Pratt was quickly informed that discriminating against breastfeeding women is considered a human rights violation in British Columbia. After creating an even bigger firestorm with his comment about the topless bar, Pratt now says that he regrets his statements.
“I was not aware that this was actually written as a human rights law so we certainly will respect that,” the owner of The Frogstone Grill ended up explaining.
He says that he was not aware that women in British Columbia were even allowed to breastfeed in public. He now says that he regrets his statement that likened the act of breastfeeding in public to the town’s topless bar.
“It was meant very lightheartedly and I think a lot of people took offence to it and that certainly wasn’t my intention.”
Pratt says that he actually didn’t mean any offense when he wrote that the town wouldn’t approve another topless bar while referring to women nursing in public without a nursing cover. He says that The Frogstone Grill is a family-owned restaurant, and that the eatery has even done annual dinners for single mothers and their kids. He says that he has three kids and a new grandson. He points out that his grandson has even nursed in the restaurant. He says that because of this controversy, he learned that restaurants are not legally allowed to ask a breastfeeding mom to cover herself. The Frogstone Grill issued a public apology on its Facebook page.
“I have learned from this incident and hopefully other businesses can learn as well. We have never had a need for a policy on breast feeding but we have now implemented one. I apologize to Brianne McNally and her family for any discomfort this may have caused them. It certainly was not our intention.”
Some advocates for nursing in public say that you can’t just liken breastfeeding to activities at a topless bar and try to pass it off as a joke without recourse. Still, given that Pratt has apologized for the statements on The Frogstone Grill’s Facebook page, the nurse-in that was planned has been cancelled.
What do you think? When the owner of The Frogstone Grill said, “There is already one topless bar in town and council won’t approve another,” was he trying to shame breastfeeding moms to defend the fact that someone from the restaurant told a woman to cover-up while nursing, or was it a lighthearted comment blown out of proportion?
[Featured photo via The Frogstone Grill on its public Facebook page]