(Photo: PJ’s Coffee on Chartres Street. | Infrogmation | CC)
The operator of a PJ’s Coffee shop in the French Quarter lost his franchise last week after responding to a LeBron James tweet using an emoji that’s often used to replace the word describing a penis.
Stephen Bruno Jr. was removed as the franchisee of the PJ’s Coffee location at 630 Chartres St., according to a PJ’s spokesperson on May 5.
On May 3, James tweeted “Protected our Young Black Women & Men.”
In response, Bruno tweeted “Eat a [eggplant emoji]” where the emoji is commonly used in place of “dick.”
“PJ’s Coffee does not tolerate hatred or disrespect of any kind,” according to a PJs tweet on May 5. “The words used by Stephen Bruno Jr. were inappropriate and uncalled for.”
Covington-based Ballard Brands owns PJ’s, which pointed to the company’s mandatory training in diversity, equity and inclusion for all team members and franchise business partners.
“We face incredibly trying times as a country and we want you to know that your voice and the voices of many others are being heard across the United States,” the company said. “We are fully committed to the mission of affecting change to expand participation of black voices in democracy, eliminating disparities and achieving racial justice to promote equality for Black people.”
Read the full statement on the company’s website at pjscoffee.com/standing-together.