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GasWerks employees make light of VT tragedy

Walker Evans Walker Evans
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The Lantern wrote Bar makes light of tragedy

Issue date: 11/26/07

The night of Oct. 27, GasWerks Bar employees were dressed in costumes for a Halloween party: Two of the bartenders wore costumes depicting a slain Virginia Tech student and the killer of the April 16 massacre. A friend of mine asked the manager/co-owner of the bar, Eric Fortney, to please tell the bartenders to change their costumes. Fortney laughed in his face, and told him that they were “just costumes.”

I am a 2005 Virginia Tech graduate, and my sister, a sophomore there, lost three of her friends to the tragedy. The tragedy at VT was one which could have occurred at any college campus in the country, so to hear of such insensitive and cruel “jokes” being made at the expense of 32 victims and a college that will forever bear this pain was despicable.

Interestingly enough, a Columbus Dispatch article was published in February 2006 about several Arena District bars banning sports jerseys on off-gamedays, to maintain a certain dress code. Fortney of GasWerks was quoted as saying: “We want to make sure that the quality of customer … stays at a very high level.” Perhaps Fortney should check his own quality of character, and remind himself that the dress code starts first and foremost with his own employees.


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