March 10, 2015

NEWS: Montreal bar issues 'shameful' apology for refusing uniformed soldiers entry because they would 'intimidate' customers

Rebel Staff

A Montreal bar called Furco has come under fire for refusing to allow reservists from the Canadian Grenadier Guards into the establishment on Sunday.

Some reports say that staff told the group that “having military personnel in the bar was bad for business and that they would intimidate other patrons.”

Allegedly, a group of 10 soldiers arrived at the bar after leaving their regimental ball where they are allowed to wear their uniforms in public.  This group was seated without incident. A second group arrived 20 minutes later and were turned away.

The bar has since apologized for the incident with a lengthy Facebook message.

“Dear friends,

Here is a link to an article and our full apology about the regretful events of last Sunday morning. As you’ll read in the article, we have apologized individually to those who voiced their dissatisfaction on our Facebook page. We have also taken action to ensure such an event does not happen again. We have been in touch with Captain Anhorn of the Armed Forces who assured us that he has accepted our apology on behalf of the parties concerned and is satisfied that the matter is resolved. We wish to put the matter behind us and count on the continued support of our loyal patrons who, we sincerely hope, will include members of the military.
Thank you.

We sincerely apologize for the unpleasant events that occurred early Sunday morning at Furco. We feel it is important to clarify that the decision to deny a group access to our premises was taken for operational reasons and not as a means of discrimination against members of the military. We at Furco have nothing but the greatest respect for all members of the Canadian Armed Forces and we are proud to count them as some of our regular patrons. The manager on duty, after having already granted admission to a large group of military patrons less than one hour before closing time, was not in a position to admit yet another large group of any clients shortly before closing and with the premises at capacity. The patrons already inside were always welcome to remain on the premises until closing and were never asked to leave. Following this incident, we will train our staff to manage our patrons’ expectations more effectively and with the sensitivity and respect they deserve.”

However, some patrons have not accepted the apology with several saying they will boycott Furco.

“No, not a place I want to go to. No respect for our military = no respect for the country they serve,” the top 'liked' comment on the message reads. Others call the apology 'shameful' and not enough. 

SOUND OFF in the comments: Do you think the bar's apology should be accepted?

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commented 2015-03-11 16:34:22 -0400
BOYCOTT! Nothing less and permanent too. Put these morons out of business now!
commented 2015-03-11 11:57:31 -0400
During WW2, my Dad was stationed in Montreal. He and some guys from the base went to a restaurant for dinner. They were all young – Dad was 19. They proudly wore their Air Force uniforms to the restaurant, sat down and waited to be served. And waited. And waited. Finally, one of them asked for service and was told, “We don’t serve your kind in here.” The young man politely asked what the man meant by “your kind” and he spat out, “Service men.” Dad never forgot that.
Turdo Sr. was an excellent example of a Quebecer; a coward who wouldn’t fight for his country and mocked Canadian soldiers by wearing a Nazi helmet. It seems little has changed in that regard in Quebec in over 70 years.
commented 2015-03-11 08:34:03 -0400
Shameful, just plain shameful. One thing is for sure this establishment will never get any of my money.
commented 2015-03-11 01:16:16 -0400
Chris – “Is that DISCRIMINATION.” No need to yell. I am not deaf nor did I ever say it wasn’t. I said based on therebel report, we didn’t know who made the allegation.

I have no “reports” section on my site but I confirmed by checking at NP. Thx for answering my question, albeit it with sarcastic derision I don’t deserve.

Listen. I agree the bar owner made what is called an ironic apology. And I would totally support the reservists boycotting the bar in protest. But had the bar offered free products/services to the reservists harmed and you insisted no, not good enough – “did I mention free?” – not just for all the reservists but for our families too – let’s make the bar really hurt – well, yes, that attitude smacks of extortion, of protection scam.

Had the bar offered to lose business for a full night to fete the reservists and their families, that would have smacked of a bribe and had the reservists accepted such an incentive, it would have smacked of protection. No doubt about it. That is how it would appear.

The right response for the reservists to make to an offer of a free night of food and drink for them and their families may have been to agree to accept one drink to restore good will. Provided it came with the right sort of apology. Even that might not be a good idea. But hurting the business of a bar over the indiscretion of one of its employees is nothing short of bullying. And accepting a slur on military in exchange for profit – not cool at all.

Chris, I never said the reservists were demanding and entitled. I said the attitude of entitlement you would have them adopt is. And it is.

I didn’t read it wrong, Chris. You want the bar owner punished. That will not build good will. It will build the expectation business can buy military.

I agree the bar owner should have apologized for his manager. I agree not doing so may hurt his business. But I do not agree our military should ever victimize an innocent person – the owner – for a mistake made by his employee by penalizing the business financially by taking advantage of a free night of boozing anf food for the reservists and their wives.

I stand by my opinion. The Captain’s response was correct. Dignified as suits our military.
commented 2015-03-11 00:44:18 -0400
Joan, if you hit “reports” on this self same site, just inches above this post, you will find the National Post article of Mar. 10. It reads like this " RESERVISTS SAID that they were turned away at the door after being told by staff that having military personnel in the bar was bad for business and that they would intimidate other patrons. Read it for yourself. No inside knowledge, just a newspaper report of what the Reservists said. I personally give more credibility to the reservistS than to the bar owner. Is that DISCRIMINATION?
Protection hustle? Where did you get this from? I suggested that the bar owner could of his own volition and free will show that he was truly sorry as opposed to the ‘sort of/ kind of’ apology that he gave.
If it was another group, for example, a bunch of gay people or some particular religious or ethnic group who were refused admittance, it would be front page no bars hold slugfest time. Trudeau would probably be weighing in.
In no way did I suggest that the Captain should request anything. Joan, you mentioned sacrifice and not entitlement. Well, I will give you my 2 cents. Those Reservists were ‘entitled’ to go into that bar if it was open. To refuse them entrance is discrimination. “Grasping” ? Demanding? The troops didn’t demand anything. The bar demanded that they stay out.
Joan, there is no connection here whatsoever between giving police free coffee and donuts just because they are police officers and showing some hospitality to some folks who were shown some bad service. As a businessman, I know that acknowledging bad service and making amends goes a long way. These Reservists were rudely handled, disrespected, and I would go as far as to say that their rights as Canadians was violated and let’s not forget that the end of their evening was ruined. There is no equivalence here between donuts for cops and doing right for would be paying customers! I still contend that some tangible form of apology would not only benefit the troops but would even benefit the bar.
Joan, you have read it all wrong.
commented 2015-03-10 23:38:34 -0400
Chris Mack. I disagree the bar should give free food and drink to military and ther families. It is too much like giving police free coffee and donuts. It smacks of protection hustle.

If we turn the culture of our military from one of sacrifice to one of entitlement, we are done.

This is a small incident perpetrated, if at all, by a manager with a bad attitude.

The Captain made the correct gesture, one of generosity. A gesture we can be proud of. A gesture that represents what our military stand for. Sacrifice, discipline, generosity. Not demanding, grasping entitlement.
commented 2015-03-10 23:32:26 -0400
Chris Mack – the credibility of who is saying it was discrimination. But who is that, Chris Mack? The article says “witnesses” not “victims”? Do you have some inside knowledge you’d like to share?
commented 2015-03-10 22:34:21 -0400
Furci is a frickin sob eatery in downtown Montreal which, hopefully, does not reflect the attitude of local residents. However, there may be problems with Quebec society, as a whole, regarding such matters. Observers have remarked that Quebec society may be simply acting as a so-called pacifist society with regards to the military. In fact, Quebec is more of an anti-military society, especially anti-Canadian-Armed-Forces-military. The federal military is viewed as an impediment against eventual separation since Canadian Armed Forces could, in theory, be used to invalidate a YES vote. Observers also point out that very few Quebec mourners gathered to remember slain soldier Patrice Vincent at military funeral in Longueuil last fall. Again, the Quebec attitude seems to be absolutely anti-military. By contrast, the military funeral, in Hamilton, for Cpl. Nathan Cirillo, attracted huge numbers of mourners.
commented 2015-03-10 20:53:01 -0400
I would not go there. I stopped patronizing Burger King the year the refused to sell poppies. you gotta stand for things folks and hitting these businesses pocketbook speaks volumes.
commented 2015-03-10 20:29:22 -0400
Hmmm, they should get rid of whoever is handling the PR. Turned away for “operational reasons” sounds too legaleese, and as such, dishonest. A simple “we were full, and couldn’t take in any more customers” would have been much more direct, honest, and clear.
commented 2015-03-10 18:12:48 -0400
As a retired military man I have to say there is no surprise here. Montreal bar scene has always discriminated against the military personnel. I’ve seen it as has my father over 50 years ago. My father was surprised when I told him Ontario clubs also discriminate against young military personnel. Their excuse was always you need “Ontario” identification. Granted I haven’t been young and refused entry personally in 20 years but still hear about it today. Ridiculous as it sounds it serves the purpose of turning away young military personnel from out of province. Only time I was ever allowed in Ontario bars was with my wife, never with other guys…
commented 2015-03-10 17:37:46 -0400
“Operational reasons”??!! That’s about as disingenuous as you can get. Presumably if you’re running a bar you’re in business to make money so you have to have your head up your rectum to turn customers away for “operational reasons”. I hope these weasels go out of business – they seem to want to. I would certainly never patronize their establishment.
commented 2015-03-10 17:23:51 -0400
quebec seems to have a problem with any symbolism, as a business owner, if they offend someone, the offended person can just not visit the establishment. Money talks.
commented 2015-03-10 16:01:33 -0400
On the top of my list in the “Respect” column are the men and women of our armed forces. Yes, above firemen, nurses, and even, believe it or not, bar owners and bouncers. He said, she said? What? The credibility of who’s doing the “saying” is what cuts it for me. A lot of people are savvy these days in terms of getting out in front of the bad story by slathering out a disingenuous apology in the hope that it will all go away, and go away as fast as possible. Apologizing for something other than the actual offence is no apology at all.

You really know when someone is really sorry and it won’t happen again is when restitution is made.
This bar should have a special military night when the servicemen and women can bring their spouses for a free, (did I mention free), evening at the bars expense. It would actually be the best advertising that they could get. Will they do it? Let’s wait and see.
commented 2015-03-10 15:31:10 -0400
This is what police call a “he said, she said”.

If, as some reports say, the refused group was told they would intimidate other patrons and be bad for business, the apology, as written, is unaccetptable in its dishonesty. If true that the refusal was discriminatory, it is for that an apology should be made.

Clearly, the manager on duty told a different tale than did those alleging discrimination. We don’t know the facts.

If Captain Anhorn has accepted the apology, that’s good enough for me.
commented 2015-03-10 15:25:16 -0400
Yes, if the reason given was a bona fida reason for denying them access.