In a dream world, we'd live in a society where everyone was accepted for who they were and treated equally no matter what. Unfortunately for all of us, instead, we live in a world where lesbian couples are reportedly chucked out of their Ubers for sharing a peck and black communities can't even hold family-friendly BBQs without being shut down by the police.
Sucks, doesn't it? However, one way to edge closer to our ideal peaceful universe is to hold people accountable when they act with prejudice. That's exactly what the internet did to hardware store owner Jeff Amyx when he hung a sign that said 'no gays allowed' outside his shop.
You may have heard of Jeff already since his story starts all the way back in 2015. Three years ago he hit the headlines when he initially put the sign up on his Amyx Hardware & Roofing Supplies store in Grainger County, about an hour outside of Knoxville, East Tennessee.
Rather than apologising and immediately taking it down, Amyx, who is a Baptist minister, simply stated that gay and lesbian couples were against his religion. Speaking to USA Today, Jeff - who allegedly also sold anti-gay merchandise - reportedly stated that he had realised LGBT people were not afraid to stand up for what they believed in, so he wanted to show others that Christian people should also be brave enough to stand up for their beliefs.
Nonelessless, after weeks of backlash, he eventually caved to public pressure and took the sign down. He replaced it with one that read: "We reserve the right to refuse service to anyone who would violate our rights of freedom of speech & freedom of religion."
Skip to three years later and Jeff still hadn't learnt his lesson. His 'no gays allowed' sign reportedly swiftly returned in 2018 when the Supreme Court ruled in favour of a Colorado baker who refused to make a wedding cake for a same-sex couple.
It's safe to say that the internet was not at all happy with his decision, and decided to make this loud and clear by destroying the name of his store and encouraging others to boycott it on social media.
In addition, people online turned to Yelp, a site that gives users the chance to review different establishments, to slate Amyx Hardware & Roofing Supplies. Unfortunately for Jeff, this resulted in a dramatically low star rating for his hardware shop.
Eventually, the store’s Yelp account received so many awful reviews that site management started deleting comments that were mainly focused on the sign and not the shop itself.
Yet, still, there was no way of stopping the outage.
In fact, even when the owner attempted to gather public support for his cause, he still continued to lose the battle online.
The message in all of this? Don't be a massive homophobe. Oh and, never ever mess with people online. You'll live to regret it.