Toronto Blue Jays pitcher Anthony Bass caused outrage on Monday when he shared a video calling for Christian believers to boycott brands like Target and Bud Light over their LGBTQ2 brand partnerships and products.
Bass, a Jays reliever with a 4.50 earned run average (ERA), shared a reel from the Instagram user @dudewithgoodnews to his own story. The video claimed there is a “biblical reason” why religious followers must avoid buying from brands that promote or align with LGBTQ2 rights and activism.
“Here’s the reason biblically why I believe Christians have gotta be boycotting Target, Bud Light, and any other corporation that’s pushing the things they’re pushing. I think a lot of people make this into a political issue, or they say, ‘Oh, what’s the big deal?'” the video says.
The video called Target and Bud Light “evil” and “demonic” and accused the brands of promoting “darkness” and “shoving it into children’s faces.”
Both Bud Light and Target have been the subject of recent boycotts from right-wing, anti-LGBTQ2 groups. For its part, Bud Light partnered with social media influencer Dylan Mulvaney, who is transgender, for a one-off March Madness contest on her Instagram account. Outcry on social media saw offended anti-LGBTQ2 beer drinkers — including musician Kid Rock — destroy their Bud Light stockpiles.
Target released its annual Pride-themed collection in U.S. stores this month, but later announced it would be moving some merchandise to its storage rooms in select southern states. The decision came after online complaints and in-store confrontations that the company said threatened employees’ well-being.
In a statement to Global News, the Toronto Blue Jays said the team is “committed to providing an inclusive and welcoming experience for all.”
“The Blue Jays are proud to celebrate LGBTQ2S+ Pride Month, including a special fourth annual Pride Weekend at the ballpark June 9 and 10, and demonstrations of allyship all month long around the ballpark,” the organization continued. “Individual player sentiments are not representative of the club’s beliefs.”
In a brief Toronto Blue Jays press conference on Tuesday afternoon, Bass gave a quick statement about the controversy, saying he was “truly sorry” that he shared the video.
“I recognize yesterday I made a post that was hurtful to the Pride community which includes family of mine and close friends,” he said.
Bass claimed he is using “Blue Jays resources” to better educate himself.
“The ballpark is for everybody and we welcome everybody,” he concluded.
Bass was already under fire over a tweet from last month that expressed outrage at a United Airlines employee who made his pregnant wife get on her “hands and knees” to clean up a mess made by their children during a trip. Swarms of social media users called Bass entitled, while others said his wife should have never been asked to tidy the mess.
The United Airlines tweet spurred heated debate online about who should clean up after travelling children. Online disdain for the 35-year-old pitcher only grew louder after he shared the video calling for the brand boycott. Many Jays fans have since called for Bass to be traded or removed from the team.
“Racism isn’t tolerated in locker rooms, and neither should non support of LGBTQ rights. If you can’t support your team mates, there’s the door – get out,” read one tweet.
“Anthony Bass is causing harm. There’s no place for him on this team, in a city and country that supports the LGBTQ2+ community,” read another.
Some people wondered whether Bass would participate in the Jays upcoming Pride Weekend event on June 9 and 10.
Others went so far as to claim they made donations to LGBTQ2 charities in Bass’ name and encouraged more people to do the same.
Bass is not the only sports player to seemingly oppose LGBTQ2 rights.
In March, ex-NHLer P.K. Subban stirred controversy after he said NHL players should not be made to wear gear in support of the LGBTQ2 community. The comment came amid protests from other NHLers who objected to participating in NHL Pride Night events, citing reasons including religious beliefs.
Bass is expected to address the Instagram video