Readers Speak About the Mike’s Pig Pen Sign

We recently wrote about the controversy surrounding a sign at a barbecue joint asking people with diabetes to inject insulin in the bathroom. In the article, I suggested that the retribution for this sign may have been excessive. We then asked readers to share what they thought on Facebook, and got many great responses.

Here are some of the best*:

Don’t you think a business owner should look into ADA laws before posting a sign displaying his discrimination for the entire world to see? And, why is the rude, ignorant complaint of a pair of guests more important than the rights of an entire group of people whom he just offended? I think if he had apologized quickly and sincerely, that he wouldn’t have faced this much backlash. Instead, he admitted no wrong and continued to make statements digging himself further into the hole that he had already buried himself in. No, I don’t think that his livelihood should be stripped from him…but he didn’t help his case at all. We spend our entire lives educating people and advocating for diabetics. We should not be made to feel ashamed or like we have to go hide in a bathroom just to give ourselves a life-saving injection of insulin before eating a meal!
-Shanna A.

Clearly he made a mistake and he learned from it. Isn’t that what we strive when it comes to educating the public about diabetes and misconceptions? He made a mistake, he admitted to it and learned from it – vilifying him and damaging his livelihood is wrong. We all need to think back to before the time our diagnoses – what did we know or think about when it came to diabetes, living with diabetes, and people with diabetes? Now we know better, so does he, so let’s forgive and move on.
-Kelly K.

I would like to know why Craig Idlebrook is the editor? As a professional writer and editor, and a Type 1, I am really shocked that he is the editor. I think this post is an excellent example. As a non-diabetic, and arguably as a non-Type 1, you don’t get an opinion. Whether you think we are right or wrong, we are the ones who deal with all of this, and the general shared opinion rules. So you find a few diabetics that disagree? So what? You have no idea what you’re talking about. Listen, you can study all about diabetes, be the editor, immerse yourself among them and it will never make you one.
-January S.

I don’t know about this one. Having a politely worded sign doesn’t excuse discrimination against a disability. Being combative and ignorant online while representing a business was a huge mistake, too. And the defense that “some of my friends are diabetic”? Yikes.

Online bullying/vigilantism gets out of control so quickly, though. Ideally the outcome would simply be a better educated owner and public.
-Ashe F.

I disagree with the author of this article. The punishment not only did fit the crime, in my opinion, it wasn’t enough. This person is not sorry for having offended diabetics – he may be sorry for what happened after, but I doubt his thinking has changed, even if he did take down the sign. Had he reacted differently to the criticism – in a professional way, not the illiterate, ignorant, bully-ish way he did – it would be a different story. Everyone makes mistakes – but it’s how you handle them that shows whether or not you are truly sorry and have learned your lesson. He hasn’t. I would say that and much more to his face if I had the opportunity!
-Justyna W.

A very well-balanced and articulate article. To have approached the owner and explained a little about Type 1 diabetes may have led to a better outcome. As a community I’m not sure we have been best represented by this approach. Whilst the sign was obnoxious, the vast majority of people know very little about Type 1 diabetes. Education and understanding are key.
-Colleen N.

When a community has been oppressed and bullied for as long as we have, vigilantism is absolutely necessary. I’m angry and I refuse to take any more abuse. That fool is only sorry about the press, he couldn’t care less about us.
-Charlotte P.

Some people did try to use it as a teaching moment. What I don’t agree with is people leaving reviews on Facebook/Yelp to express their opinion about this issue. I feel like that is purposely trying to hurt someone’s livelihood and ruin their business. Our goal as a diabetes community should be to educate and advocate, not to insult those who don’t understand. One person politely explaining that this sign is discrimination and goes against the ADA and may result in legal repercussions could have been enough to make him remove the sign on his own. Instead, we attacked him for being “ignorant” and called him every name in the book. No wonder he became so defensive. I hope as a community we can work on our approach to situations like these and find better ways to spread our message.
-Daisy K.

Thanks to everyone who took the time to comment. Want to get in on the discussion? Like us on Facebook.

*Comments may have been lightly edited for length and clarity, but not for substance.

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Craig Idlebrook is a past editor for Insulin Nation, Type 2 Nation, and Información Sobre Diabetes. He is now the community engagement and content manager for T1D Exchange.

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