While visiting the pub on April 5, Hawryluk asked the DJ to stop playing “Blurred Lines”, a song critics say promotes rape culture and can serve as a trigger for survivors of sexual assault. The pub later issued a formal apology to Liz and her friends last week and promised to no longer play the song.
Bar manager Kyle Bartosiewicz shared on his personal Facebook page an article about the situation published on Barstool Sports. Bartosiewicz did not respond to requests for comment.
The article was published April 9 and referred to Hawryluk as a “looney bin feminist.”
“Without knowing this girl I’d bet my life she went to this bar specifically to wait ‘til this song was played so she could cause a stink,” the anonymous author wrote in the article. “It was probably an assignment in her Gender Studies class.”
In response to the situation, dozens of students gathered in front of Fitzgerald’s last week in solidarity with Hawryluk. The group took a quick photo while carrying signs that urged students to make UNC a safe place for sexual assault survivors before dispersing.
Fitzgerald’s spokeswoman Lauren Shoaf said the post Bartosiewicz made to Facebook was not reflective of his opinions.
“Nothing was said about her,” Shoaf said. “(Bartosiewicz) was just sharing the article”.
Shoaf said pub employees are now more aware of things that could offend people, but it is still difficult to cater to everyone in such a public space.
Sarah Pederson, a friend of Hawryluk and a co-editor of The Siren — a feminist magazine at UNC — co-authored an open letter to Bartosiewicz following his posting.
The letter said the authors were deeply saddened by the bar managers’ decision to perpetuate Barstool’s message.
Pederson said Hawryluk has been receiving threats on social media and online.
“It’s been completely unacceptable and terrifying to be perfectly honest,” Pederson said. “There are places in our community that aren’t taking sexual violence and its prevention seriously.”
The letter also urged the community to participate in a boycott of Fitzgerald’s pub until Bartosiewicz is held accountable for his post on Facebook. They also asked Fitzgerald’s staff to attend Raise the Bar, a UNC program designed to train bar staff to prevent sexual violence.
“I think it’s a good opportunity for us to push Raise the Bar training and make Chapel Hill nightlife safer,” Pederson said.