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'I’m not a racist person at all': McLeod bar owner facing backlash

'I’m not a racist person at all': McLeod bar owner facing backlash
Posted at 8:15 AM, Sep 05, 2022
and last updated 2022-09-05 10:15:29-04

MCLEOD  — Just outside the tiny town of McLeod, Montana sits Holly's Roadkill Saloon where the owner continues to face backlash, and has been since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, for a controversial and racist reference to Asians and COVID-19.

“You wouldn’t tell somebody, a victim of a crime, oh get over it, it was three years ago,” said Chris Girardot of Billings.

Girardot is just one of the many appalled by the language and is not willing to let it go because of the several posts made by the bar owner with divisive language. MTN spoke with owner Holly Tinch, who stands by what she’s written.

“You want to call me an Irish name, have at it. Ask me if I care, I don’t,” said Tinch.

Girardot was adopted from South Korea when he was a couple of months old and took the statements personally.

“You can see that I’m of Asian descent. And I’ve been in fights in high school because I was the only brown kid. So, yes, I took offense to that,” Girardot said.

He and others are fighting back the only way they know how, with bad Google reviews for the saloon.

“And the owner tried to post my personal phone number to get people to harass me,” he said. The phone number posted by the owner was not Girardot's number.

But Tinch sees it much differently. She says most aren’t upset by her comments. But instead by her decision to make the establishment a 21 and older saloon.

“I’ve never had any fights in here. I’ve never had any problems in here. Except for people wanting to bring their kids here and I’m not a babysitter,” she said.

She also said that her language in reference to COVID-19 is not racist.

“I’m not a racist person at all. And if you think that I am, that’s your problem not mine,” Tinch said.

Tinch says she is standing by her rights as an American to say what she wants and says the bad reviews haven’t hurt, but have actually helped bring business in.

“And I’m going to stand by my First Amendment and my Second Amendment and the rest of them,” she said.