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March 18, 2014

Red Jug co-owner apologizes for Instagram post

By Jessica Reynolds Staff Writer
The Daily Star

---- — “Responsibly” was the adverb of the week on Oneonta’s Red Jug Pub social media accounts, just days after a co-owner of the pub sent a letter to Oneonta officials acknowledging and apologizing for an “inappropriate” and “distasteful” message that was posted on the bar’s social media website on March 6.

Mayor Dick Miller said he received the apology via email on Monday from Tom Terwilliger, co-owner of The Red Jug Pub, acknowledging the inappropriate nature of a recent St. Oney’s Day post on Instagram that, some thought, crossed the fine line between encouraging patrons to have a good time and promoting excessive drinking. Miller said the apology letter was also sent to members of the city common council and State University College at Oneonta officials.

“Over the weekend, a re post was made to one of our company named social media accounts,” the email read. “By any measure, this post was inappropriate and distasteful. My partner and staff deeply regret the post made by one of our employees. We are currently reviewing the methods we use to promote our business using social media. I can personally assure you that nothing like this will ever happen again and we sincerely hope you will accept our collective apology.”

Miller said the city has had “nothing but good relations” with Terwilliger in the past and called him a “serious business man.”

This was an unfortunate, isolated incident, Miller said, over which Terwilliger had no control.

Common Council member Dave Rissberger said he has seen a noticeable difference in the quality of the pub’s social media content this week, leading up to St. Patrick’s Day, noting a significant drop in Twitter posts that seemingly celebrated binge drinking, at least on the Oneonta-based Red Jug Pub accounts. The social media accounts for the Cortland-based Red Jug Pub continue to include some questionable posts, which makes him wonder, he said, if the gravity of the situation was understood and earnestly regretted.

“I acknowledge the apology,” Rissberger said, “But I question its sincerity.”

Rissberger said he feels it was Terwilliger’s responsibility as co-owner to know what was being posted by his employees and the possible implications of that content. Terwilliger contacted him in particular before the apology was sent, Rissberger said, seemingly trying to justify the posts and saying that similar postings are frequently made around St. Patrick’s Day by bars in other cities. Rissberger said Terwilliger told him that he did not know his employee was posting such a message.

“Ignorance,” Rissberger said, “is not an excuse for non-action.”

The main March 6 post in question read: “Me blacking out when I’m drunk is God’s way of telling me that what I do when I drink is none of my business.”  

On March 10, the following message was posted on the pub’s Twitter account: “An earlier repost on our Instagram has been found to be offensive. We agree & apologize. It’s sentiment is not in keeping w/ our philosophy.”

The pub’s Twitter account posted a slew of “drink responsibly” messages following the incident which, Miller said, will hopefully never happen again.

“Remember while you’re enjoying yourself responsibly this weekend, our staff will be hard at work making sure everyone is having fun and staying safe” was posted on March 14, as well as, “With this weekend’s festivities getting closer by the hour let’s remember to have fun, stay safe and drink responsibly.”

“Remember to enjoy this holiday weekend responsibly,” was posted on March 15, and on the morning of St. Patrick’s Day, the following was posted: “It’s finally here!! Doors are open and the GREEN beer is flowing! Come enjoy some Guinness or Jameson on this beautiful day! As always, enjoy responsibly #juglife.” 

Terwilliger, on Monday, declined to further comment.