‘That’s not us’: Louisville bar apologizes for Britney Spears themed drink with insensitive name

A flyer promoting the drink was removed from social media
A Louisville bar has apologized after posting an event flyer on social media with an insensitively named cocktail.
Updated: May. 20, 2021 at 12:36 AM EDT
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - A Louisville bar has apologized after posting an event flyer on social media with an insensitively named cocktail.

To promote a Britney Spears appreciation night, Baxter’s 942 Bar & Grill released the names of five themed cocktails in digital flyers Monday. General Manager Jessica Coleman told WAVE 3 the flyer was created by Baxter’s alcohol distributor Brown-Forman; the drink names were also created by the distributor and inspired by the pop star’s songs.

“They couldn’t use actual Britney song titles so the titles were condensed,” Coleman said.

One drink on the flyer was named “The Slave,” a condensed version of Spears’ 2001 hit “I’m a Slave 4 U.”

“The fact that it took so many people see the song title and it not raise flags, it’s embarrassing at this point,” Coleman said. “It was just a complete oversight on our part, like holy wow … no harm, or no offense obviously was meant to be taken.”

The flyer was removed from social media after customers raised concerns to Baxter’s staff. Wednesday, Baxter’s 942 held the Britney Spears appreciation night without any of the themed drinks previously created.

Bar owner Kevin Strnatka told WAVE 3 the cocktail name is a far cry from what Baxter’s represents.

“That’s not us, that’s not our bartenders, that’s not our staff, we’re accepting of everybody,” he said. “We’ve gone beyond to ensure that our clientele is safe here.”

Strnatka said Baxter’s welcomes all customers and openly shows support for social justice with Black-owned business events and fundraisers for Black scholarships. A number of event postings on Baxter’s Facebook page promote events with Black or LGBTQ businesses and performers.

“We didn’t just do those things to seem topical or woke, we’re doing those because we truly believe that it’s important to not be quiet right now,” Coleman said.

In a statement, Brown-Forman also apologized for the cocktail name:

“It appears someone was making an effort to name a cocktail after the Spear’s (sic) song “Slave 4 U” and did not consider the hurtful and unintended consequences of using a word that holds a much deeper and painful meaning. We apologize for this poor word choice in naming a cocktail.”

The Britney Spears theme night Wednesday was planned as a fundraiser for the Kentuckiana AIDS Alliance; all proceeds from the event went to the organization.

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