An Apology to the Community from Tales of the Cocktail Founder, Ann Tuennerman
Earlier this week, I rode in a Mardi Gras parade with the Zulu organization, in which participants, both people of color and of all races, traditionally wear blackface makeup, and shared photos of myself in costume on social media. I now recognize how deeply offensive this is to many, and I am sincerely sorry. It was a naive and inconsiderate action, the consequences of which have made it clear that I have much to learn. Regardless of anyone’s intentions, we all have to take responsibility for our actions, especially those of us in positions of authority. As an industry leader, I assume full responsibility for my actions, and am ready to listen to all those who I have angered and hurt in the process.
It was an honor to ride with the Zulu organization, but in my ignorance, I did not consider how videos and photos of my participation in this parade would cause pain and incite anger for so many. I understand that my role comes with a responsibility to take these considerations into account and to be mindful and respectful of everyone in our global community. I failed at this, and have no excuse to offer.
My purpose here is not just to apologize publicly; I do not believe an apology excuses anyone of their actions. My purpose here is to acknowledge my ignorance and to open myself up to critique; to take my first step toward becoming someone more capable of listening to those who I have hurt and understanding the ignorance of my own actions. Ashtin Berry has invited me to be interviewed by her live on Facebook this coming Monday, the 6th at 2pm CST. In preparation for the interview she has asked me to consider the following question: “How are you as an industry leader going to begin to engage from this day forward in a way that holds you and others accountable?” I am humbled to be invited to speak openly with Ashtin. I know I may not have answers to all of her questions, but I earnestly want to be a part of the solution and not part of the problem. I want to act like the leader that I should be, and I recognize that this is only the start of an ongoing conversation that needs to happen.
As a result of my actions, the question of fair and equal representation for bartenders of color at Tales of the Cocktail has been raised, and is one that deserves and will receive, our full attention. Words cannot begin to describe how regretful I am for having caused this situation; I am truly sorry. I also realize that actions speak louder than words, so I ask that you give me an opportunity to show you how sorry I am, and to work with me, to create solutions.
The Facebook Live interview will be accessible to the public and open to public comments. The live session will be broadcasted on our Facebook page beginning at 2pm CST on Monday, March 6th, 2017.