Diversity & Inclusion
Alberta food supplier faces huge backlash after homophobic email sent by owner
An Alberta gourmet food supplier has cut ties with a man who identified himself as an owner after he sent a homophobic email to the organizers of a local Pride event.
Canmore Pride had reached out to Valbella Gourmet Foods to ask for support, either in the form of sponsorship or a food donation, for its festivities in September.
Jeff von Rotz, who identified himself as an owner in his email signature, wrote this in response to the request from Canmore Pride co-chair K Kealey:
I would simply address you by your name but I don’t know it as you simply signed with a K.
I’m sorry to say but you could not pay me to sponsor anything to do with child grooming trannys.
Please keep these sick people away from the children of this community, you should be disgusted with yourselves.
I’m sure there’s some woke organization mentally ill enough to help you with your event but it isn’t Valbella’s.
That email was shared on social media, and the negative reactions came fast and furious.
Businesses cut ties with company
Jasper Park Lodge said it was done working with the company. In a statement on Twitter, it said:
“We are saddened and disappointed to learn of the hateful remarks made by Valbella, particularly as we are dedicated to fostering an inclusive and safe environment. EFFECTIVE IMMEDIATELY: We will no longer work with, or purchase from, Valbella.”
Banff Centre also announced it was removing all Valbella products from its operations and will stop doing business with the company.
Response was also swift from local governments. Canmore Mayor Sean Krausert said the town “stands in solidarity with our LGTBQIA2S+ residents and visitors who make this town a more vibrant and diverse place to call home.”
The Town of Banff also said they stand with Canmore. “We may be two towns, but we’re one community that’s welcoming, richly diverse and supportive of everyone,” it said on Facebook. “Hate speech, in any form, is unacceptable.”
Valbella Gourmet Foods issued this statement, posted on its Facebook and Instagram accounts and signed by Chantal von Rotz.
According to media reports, Chantal von Rotz said that Jeff, while he used the title of owner, was not actually an owner of Valbella.
Rather, his title was president and he was terminated from that role on July 26, 2022, she said.
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