LGBTQ Midtown bar Burkhart’s has apparently closed its doors permanently just weeks after the owner’s racist social media posts surfaced. Co-owner Mary Marsh posted about the closing on Facebook on Feb. 12, writing “Had to close the bar ‘ll [sic] heartbroken.” Meanwhile, benefit shows have been lined up for the bar’s entertainers, who resigned in protest together on Jan. 25.

A series of Burkhart’s owner Palmer Marsh’s Facebook posts from 2015 began circulating on social media on Jan. 19, and Wussy published a story that evening including the posts. The controversy spilled over onto national headlines and it took over a week before Palmer Marsh responded with an apology, telling 11 Alive that he was drunk when he made the posts. The owners later fired the bar’s general manager, and they claim to be fielding several purchase offers.

Mary Marsh has been active on Facebook talking about the controversy, going after the bar’s former entertainers who resigned and claiming to be a victim.

A series of benefit shows for the bar’s former entertainers have been lined up at Out Front Theatre Company on Sunday, March 18 at 7 p.m., 9 p.m. and 11 p.m. The shows came about after a Jan. 27 community organizing meeting hosted by local LGBTQ activist group ATL Activate. All of the proceeds will benefit the entertainers, who formed a group called Queens United in the wake of their mass resignation. There is also a GoFundMe campaign launched in conjunction with this effort with a goal of raising $15,000. So far, $870 has been raised as of Feb. 13.

“We cannot fund ignorance and racism in our nightlife scene,” said Queens United founding member Alissah Brooks in a news release. “There are a number of inequalities that need to be dealt with over time. Queens United is the first time that a large coalition of entertainers has been formed in Atlanta to collaborate on these issues. We look forward to announcing more in the coming weeks.”

ATL Activate founder James Brian Yancey said in a statement, “Many in Atlanta’s LGBTQ community care deeply about addressing racism. There are a number of initiatives that parts of the community are stepping up to lead as a broader effort that is taking shape over time. But this immediate benefit and fundraiser are symbolic that we are thankful and supportive of these brave entertainers for taking the first step in addressing the unacceptability of racism over the long term.”

6 Responses

  1. Todd Thomas

    I would like to know more about this GAGA PAC and the Queens United. Both are great tools but is this happening the right way? I was not able to find any registered PAC by this name or a legal business called Queens United. Who is collecting these donations? Who is getting them? Are the recipients paying taxes on the donations collected? I would love to help people in need but this whole thing is thrown together and seems to be at the very least boarder on illegal. We have seen this so many times in the charity world. I think a legitimate, legal organization should be handling this! – Todd

  2. George Ellington

    I am glad it closed because Palmer was not the only problem Mary was a complete bitch to me multiple times! She one told me I was wasting my time looking for a man at Burkharts because I was too fat and ugly and no man wanted me! The jokes is on her because in April I celebrate 13 years of wedded bliss!

  3. Glenn Rubin

    I hope someone more sensitive to the gay community would purchase the venue. It needed updating but the design essentially was a good one.

  4. Atlanta gay bar Oscar's owners buy Burkhart's, plan name change

    […] Former Burkhart’s owner Palmer Marsh confirmed the sale with Georgia Voice on Tuesday afternoon. A series of Marsh’s Facebook posts from 2015 began circulating on social media on Jan. 19, and Wussy published a story that evening including the posts. The bar’s entire drag lineup quit several days later. Burkhart’s General Manager Don Hunnewell claimed on Jan. 26 that the bar had been sold, but that deal fell through. The owners later fired Hunnwell. An organizing meeting was held Jan. 27 in Midtown with several hundred concerned LGBTQ citizens. Then in mid-February, the bar closed for good. […]


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