Moriarty’s management needs to speak up

An historic building painted blue with a sign reading Moriarty's above the front door.
Moriarty’s Irish Bar and Pub, located on Walnut St. (Photo: Jeremy Rodriguez)

Moriarty’s Irish Pub drew controversy last week when the establishment — located at 11th and Walnut in the Gayborhood — posted a Craigslist ad last week asking for a “biologically male” bartender before promptly deleting it. The problematic connotations for this post is obvious, not just for trans people but for cis women as well. The ad clearly violates Philadelphia’s Fair Practices Ordinance and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act.

It’s unclear why management created this posting. Was it some rogue employee? Was it simply someone posing as Moriarty’s to make the bar look bad? Or was it simple blatant transphobia and sexism on the bar management’s part?

We at PGN do not know the answers to these questions and staff writer Lauren Rowello tried to get an answer by calling to speak with a manager or owner. An employee working at the bar had a simple response: “No, sorry. Please don’t call back.”

We can give the benefit of the doubt and assume the team at Moriarty’s is drafting a response but after almost a week of radio silence, the lack of any explanation for the ad or even a public apology remains concerning. Their social media presence has also been dead. Moriarty’s last post on both Facebook and Instagram was on Jan. 19, just a few days before their Jan. 24 job posting. Comments on their Instagram posts have also been disabled, though it’s unclear when the account owner disabled these comments.

Another concern is the type of customer that Moriarty’s is currently attracting and empowering since this story went viral. Some comments about the Inquirer’s article on Instagram have been outright bigoted with one commenter writing, “Alphabet people crying again. Work somewhere else! Work on a place that emphasizes your false identity and fantasy’s [sic]. Let business owners be the business owners again.”

Another user tried to downplay the situation by stating that there are “plenty of other bars” to go to, writing: “The city can’t tell a private business/establishment who they have to hire. Just like people are allowed to have an opinion on human rights a business owner can have an opinion on what is best for their own business. Just don’t go there if it doesn’t rub you the right way. Plenty of other bars!”

Another commenter showed a lack of empathy by stating, “WHO CARES. Sensitivity will be the downfall of our society. Ridiculous. I’m going there to get drunk af!!!””

To the management at Moriarty’s, we must ask: Is this the type of customer you want to attract? If so — to echo the above Instagram commenter — there are “plenty of other bars” for us to go to. No harm, no foul. However, we should receive an explanation if you value our patronage in the slightest. Granted, there will be some potential customers who will never step foot into your establishment regardless of any public statement you make. That’s fine. To echo the other Instagram commenter, “just like people are allowed to have an opinion on human rights,” they can have an opinion on a bar. Complete silence, on the other hand, is not going to make this controversy go away. It’s time to speak up.