Hattiesburg restaurant owner receives backlash for blog post

Hattiesburg restaurant owner receives backlash for blog post

HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - Cory Cooley is the owner of Marlins Bar and Grill in Hattiesburg. Separate from his business, he is a blogger.

Recently he wrote a new blog post titled "An Open Letter to Our Home, Mississippi," which he said was meant to encourage Mississippi youth to enhance their communities with progressive thinking.

"The article was intended to poke our legislature after confederate history month was announced, and it was on my mind a lot recently," Cooley said.

Since its posting last week, The blog has been read over eleven thousand times and shared over 400 times on Facebook.

One line in the his blog post has recently brought him intense negative feedback.

"But there's something you haven't accounted for, Mississippi. While you've been pre-occupied with flags, confederate history month, corporate tax breaks, covering up political corruption, we've been getting stronger. The same youth that you have ignored are rising, and we are coming."

A meme, which is a humorous viral photo, has been shared on social media encouraging people to boycott Marlins Bar and Grill:

Cooley said his words were taken out of context, and said his personal beliefs should not be taken out on his staff.

"That hurts my employees, that hurts the tip money they make, that hurts the bottom line, that hurts everything."

In the midst of the negative feedback, Cooley and his staff members have gained support from many in the community.

"We do our best to provide great value and a great environment for everybody," Manager Kelly Wyles said.

"Those that come here and experience Marlins 99 percent of the time they come back, so I'm not worried about it affecting our business. It's not like we're out there telling everybody to boycott anyone with rebel flags, its not going to affect our business if anything its going to help."

Despite the controversy brought about from his post, Cooley said he's glad people are beginning to start a dialogue about issues in the state.