Bookies Bar co-owner says he’s sorry for racist statements, because of course he’s sorry

Mark Jerant is sorry, y’all.

The co-owner of Bookies Bar & Grille in downtown Detroit released a statement through a newly appointed crisis public relations representative after being put on blast for those ugly comments about a police shooting in Tulsa. And let’s be real: You knew this was coming.

You know how this cycle goes. It happens in Detroit. It happens everywhere. Employee/owner/entrepreneur/representative says something boneheaded on social media. They thought it wouldn’t be seen, even though in 2016, people still haven’t learn that everything is seen on social media. Comments go viral. Customers get upset. Threats of boycotts. One-star Yelp reviews. Media coverage. Disappearing social accounts. Phone off the hook, or if the phones are answered, “no comment.”

And then the apology. The apology nobody will ever believe is sincere, because people in these situations only apologize for getting caught. Their views don’t change overnight. A conversation rarely changes any beliefs a person has held for decades.

Jerant always felt the way he has about black people. He said as much in his original Facebook comments. "Listen to police who have guns pointed at you and don't get shot. It isn't hard."


I’ve heard these things all my life. No doubt his black classmates at University of Detroit Jesuit High School have heard it, too. Just dress a certain way, and you won’t get shot. Just talk a certain way, and you won’t get shot. Just don’t go to a certain place, and you won’t get shot. Just keep your hands to yourself, and don’t get shot. Just do what we say, and don’t get shot. Like damn, I, as a black man in Detroit – of all places! This is my hometown, too – have to jump through all these goddamn hoops just to keep a bullet from going through my chest, and I have to hear it from a motherfucker who makes drinks.

It’s the thing I have to worry about being black in America, but not any of the other writers who followed this story after we brought it forward. So here’s the apology that you’re also going to read elsewhere in local media, but we’ll likely be the only ones to call bullshit. Jerant’s comments are italicized, mine aren’t:

“I want to express my deepest condolences and apology to the family of Terence Crutcher and the Tulsa, Oklahoma community for my comments on Facebook that may be viewed as hurtful or insensitive regarding the real tension that existed between African Americans and police officers across our country. I understand that my candid comments regarding policing has had a negative effect.

Um, yeah.

My comments were in response to a spirited discussion I was having with my African American friend from high school of more than 18 years.

Based on the screenshot, your “African American friend” posted a link with no commentary and you jumped right in with incendiary statements about a dead man without even watching the video, clearly. There was no spirited discussion.

Also, why is it that white people still haven’t learned that just because you have A BLACK FRIEND doesn’t mean you’re not susceptible to the blinding privilege that allows you to make such statements? If he truly was your friend for 18 years as you claim, wouldn’t you have learned a thing or two about the struggle we face daily?

He and I have had open and frank conversations regarding current affairs, politics, race, inequality and social justice. It’s common place for my friend and I to have candid exchanges on social media on issues and opinions that affect us both.

OK, I’ll give you that. Hell, I talk shit with my friends all the time on various platforms. But you have “owner of Bookies” in your Facebook profile. Many of us have our employment information in our Facebook profile. For as much as I talk about people, places or things, I’m always careful not to say anything that would damage my reputation or my employer’s reputation. (And why is it that only the restaurant and bar folks in town never seem to understand this?)

I am embarrassed


and regret the tone and tenor of my comments, as written words often lose inflection.

U of D is a pretty good school, right? They do teach that you can use other words – vocabulary – to express what you actually mean, right? Or maybe that’s a lesson we all lost when Facebook was invented.

I was expressing thoughts that reflect, in some measure, the sentiments that have been shared by my African American friends,

OMG stop it with the “my African American friends” already, because we’re not fucking tokens in your social circles. White people, Jesus.

that unfortunately the best way when confronted by police offices is to follow their every command to avoid a fatal confrontation. It should not be the case that African Americans should fear for their safety when engaged by law enforcement. These are tragedies which need to end.

Part of the reason why black people feel this way is because every time something like this happens, white people like yourself always make us out to be the victim. It’s always something we’ve done wrong. We didn’t show our hands (except Crutcher did), we didn’t follow police orders (except Crutcher did). We die, and you immediately make it our fault.

My comments in no way were intended to be disrespectful to Terence Crutcher, his actions or events that let to him being shot by Tulsa Police. I was expressing my concerns over once again seeing in the media another unarmed African American confronted by police officers that ended in death. This is an all too often occurrence and it needs to stop.

Hey, what about that “liberal media BS” part of your commentary where you implied that journalists skew facts and edit video in order to gain sympathy for black folks? What about the part about propaganda from Black Lives Matter? Any apologies for that? And nowhere was there an apology to your business partner for embarrassing the shit out of him, the customers of Bookies or the city of Detroit.

I apologize for the insensitive manner in which my comments appeared on Facebook.

"I'm sorry I called you a gap-toothed bitch. It's not your fault you're so gap-toothed."

My statements are my own and do not reflect my business, partnerships and staff at Bookies Bar & Grille.’’

OH THERE IT IS, THE MONEY SHOT. “It wasn’t the business, guys, it was just Facebook, LOL! Don’t shut us down, we need your money still!”

This whole thing from start to finish was ridiculous. We all know Jerant’s feelings haven’t changed. Here’s the thing, though: Bookies deserves a second chance.

Yes, they do. See, I still think this apology is kinda bull because it came to soon. What Jerant needs is immersion. He needs more dialogue with black folks, and not just at the bar (or on Facebook). He needs education. He needs a clue.

It may be too late, since everywhere I turn in the Detroiternet, I see someone else calling for a boycott or a shutdown of Bookies. But whatever this apology is, this ain’t it. Jerant doesn’t need PR. He needs to own up to this like a big boy and figure out what’s next for him, and perhaps his relationship with the bar.

In the meantime, let this be a lesson a-fucking-gain to Detroit business owners: Can you learn how to do social, already? 

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