Dance club sparks controversy with 'straight bar' sign
Massillon, OH — A recent sign in front of Hype Ultra Dance Club in Massillon has caused quite a stir.
The sign posted Friday read, "It's a straight bar. Under new management." It's a sign that made many people do a double-take.
"The sign was part of a re-branding of our new dance club," said Andrew Oser, partner of Hype.
"We have people come in every week that are so confused as to what this place actually is. Perhaps putting something on the sign like that wasn't the best method to go," said Oser.
Oser says a previous partner had promoted the place as a gay bar and the sign was meant to clarify any confusion.
"We're not going after a certain group. And because of the comments that were coming out, they were labeling us and that was hurting our business," added Jerry Spaulding, managing partner.
"I apologize to anyone we may have offended for that. All we were doing was stating, without a doubt, what this place is," added Oser.
The sign was put up Friday night and stayed there for a couple hours.
Once Oser found out that people were offended, the sign immediately came down.
Along Lincoln Way, people understood the intent, but say the sign sent the wrong message.
"They wanted the public to know you could go there anyway. But that kind of targets the gays, saying, We don't want you here. And that's very offensive," said Kelly Walker, of Massillon.
It's a message that Hype says they never meant to send.
Instead, they wanted to promote a new club with new management with room on the dance floor for everyone.
"Everybody is welcome and we want that to be known. We never classified or discriminated against anybody. And we never will," said Spaulding.