After spending the Thanksgiving holiday at home with family, I went to Mr. Ed’s Bar and Grill to watch the Ohio State/Michigan game with fellow Port Clinton High School alumni. We had a great time and were happy to see that Ed Fitzgerald, the owner of the bar, was there and hosting a charity event to raise money for Port Clinton families who are struggling. However, after enjoying the game and donating to the fundraiser, I was disgusted by the evening entertainment that followed.
The entertainer, known as Mad Dog, is apparently a frequent act on Put-in-Bay and on the mainland. Sadly, most of his performance that day was predicated on making fun of gay people. Whenever a person walked into the bar, Mad Dog asked the audience if the newcomer was gay or straight. Each time, his question was met with a holler of “GAY!” from the crowd. He made jokes about gay people in between songs. We were even treated to his song titled, “Those Were the Gays,” set to the tune of the television theme song, “Those Were the Days.” The bigotry towards gay people seemed never ending, except when interrupted by racist jokes about African Americans. I have never been so embarrassed in my hometown.
After numerous attempts at contacting someone in charge at Mr. Ed’s, I finally received a return phone call from a manager who trivialized my concerns and assured me there was nothing she could do. When I asked another employee for Ed Fitzgerald’s phone number so that I could talk to him about the situation, they told me that Ed loves Mad Dog and wouldn’t care what I had to say. Does Mr. Fitzgerald realize that some people in the bar that day were visiting Port Clinton for the first time and now think it is a racist, homophobic town? Does he realize that some of the families his charity will help this holiday season will be African American families? Does he realize that members of some of the families will be gay? Why wouldn’t he care what I have to say? One question remains for the residents of Port Clinton: Do you care?
Port Clinton High School, Class of 2004