Sign 'joking' about domestic violence sparks outrage at Texas bar

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by TERESA WOODARD

Gannett Affiliate

Posted on May 29, 2014 at 9:12 AM

PLANO — The handwritten sign over the bar at Scruffy Duffies in Plano read: "I like my beer like I like my violence. Domestic."

The words are now gone, but their impact lingers.

"I was like, 'Oh my gosh, do you see this?'" said 24-year-old Courtney Williams. She couldn't believe what she saw on the chalkboard inside Scruffy Duffies Saturday night.

Williams was offended.

"How does someone think it's OK to put something like that up there?" she asked.

Williams asked the female bartender who had written the sign to erase it. Then Williams asked two managers.

They did not take it down.

Williams left the establishment at the Shops at Legacy and posted every detail — along with a photo of the sign — on Facebook.

That post has gone viral.

Williams is surprised by the attention, but others are thrilled.

"My gut reaction was, 'Thank you Ms. Williams for standing up and saying this isn't OK,'" said Vanessa Vaughter, the education program manager at Hope's Door, a women's shelter in Plano. "I was surprised and sad that someone would think it's funny and a great way to sell beer."

The sign did come down after Williams left, according to some of her friends who remained at the bar.

Scruffy Duffies' owners took action on Tuesday. A regional manager told News 8 the manager who was on duty was indefinitely suspended without pay, but an owner suggested that manager could lose his job.

The regional manager also said a new system of checks and balances is in place for any sign that is posted in the bar. All messages henceforth will require approval.

The regional manager added that Scruffy Duffies is making a donation to Hope's Door, and inviting shelter representatives to hold a sensitivity training class for bar employees.

"When one in four women are affected by domestic violence — and in Collin County alone last year we had over 12,000 incidents of domestic violence — then this isn't something we joke about," Vaughter said.

Williams thinks Scruffy Duffies' pledge to work with Hope's Door is a step in the right direction. She's heard from some critics who think she was overly sensitive, but Williams is focusing on the survivors of domestic violence who are thanking her for her stance.

"I want to give them a voice," she said. "It can be a really powerful thing for change."

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