It’s not the first time Burlington’s dessert hot spot issued an apology after accusations of insensitivity towards a social cause.
Kelly’s Bake Shoppe drew the ire of Instagramers this week, shortly after posting a black square as part of Blackout Tuesday: an initiative to go silent on social media, reflect on recent events, and stand in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement while amplifying the voice of the black community.
Commentators then took the dessert shop to task, asking Kelly’s what its been doing as a business to help the black community. Some followers also called out the company’s lack of staff diversity.
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Kelly’s then disabled comments under their blackout photo. They did the same under a photo that quoted Dr. Martin Luther King.
That led to many commentators criticizing the business for silencing their voice during a time when people and businesses are being asked to listen.
Kelly’s Bake Shoppe issued an apology in an Instagram post. Part of the caption read, “Yesterday, through our sheer ignorance, we disabled comments from a post that was receiving incoming comments that began to make us feel uncomfortable.”
Kelly’s then went on an apology tour by responding to individual comments, including those suggesting that the bakeshop was playing the victim.
The criticism didn’t end there, as many commentators felt Kelly’s Bake Shoppe misunderstood the purpose of the Blackout Tuesday movement by “self-promoting” with a video of coconut cupcakes shortly after posting the “black square”.
One year ago, Kelly’s Bake Shoppe was in the middle of a 2019 controversy surrounding Pride Month. The business was accused of profiting off the LGBTQ+ community for selling Pride cupcakes; sometimes referred to as “rainbow capitalism”.
Commentators began questioning how much of the profits, if any, from sold cupcakes would be given back to the queer community, leading to a video message from owner Kelly Childs in which she said: “We were attacked by a group that [was] demanding to know where our profits were going from the pride cupcake that we created. And demanded in such a way it actually made me feel not good.”
Childs was also on the receiving end of criticism in May when a Reddit thread contained a screenshot of an apparent conspiracy theory-based COVID-19 tweet from the Kelly’s Bake Shoppe owner.
The tweet suggested that the pandemic was a “game to close our global economy” and force microchips into citizens via mandatory vaccines.
The Reddit thread was removed by the r/Burlington mods “for a variety of reasons, including keeping communities safe, civil, and true to their purpose”.
Kelly’s Bake Shoppe did not respond to an email from InHalton looking to authenticate the now-deleted tweet.