Update: Sara Fitzgerald responded to our request with the following statement. “My comments were about the racist and sexist nature of the video submitted. I referred to the music using the words from the video which I found offensive,” Sara Fitzgerald told Houstonia. “I'm tired of women being referred to as "bitches" and "ho's," which seems to be acceptable to rap artists. Look up the video, Starlito, Don Trip - Caesar and Brutus. It stereotypes black men and is disrespectful to women.”
Fitzgerald's Live, one of Houston's oldest and established live music venues, is facing scrutiny after a racially charged email was posted on Twitter today.
On February 6, local DJ and producer Garrett Brown, known as TrakkSounds, emailed the venue about booking the space for an album-release show. This morning, Sara Fitzgerald of Fitz responded, declining to host the event because of "fans that wear their pants under their ass with 18 inches of underwear showing," among other complaints about the potential clientele. Brown posted a screenshot of the email to Twitter.
The emails didn't stop there. As the Houston Chronicle reported, an additional message that wasn't shared online did little to help Fitzgerald's case.
"Why not have your artist play at your church? See if your mother likes that language. I see you started a blast against me on the net. Now who’s aggressive?
I get insulted when men submit music to me that refers to women as bitches and hoes, just like you would get insulted if a white man sent you music calling black men racial slurs. Your music plays into all stereotypes…gangsters, drugs, women hating, racial slurs, etc."
Speaking to Free Press Houston, Fitzgerald elaborated on the emails sent to TrakkSounds.
"I quoted words from the song that he sent me. Those were from the song. I was offended. He referred to his girlfriend in the song as being ‘my pussy,’ you know, that bitch, that ho. I’m just tired of women being called names, you know? I’m sorry, it’s my building, it’s offensive to me. I shouldn’t have said anything, I guess, I should have said, ‘I don’t want to do the music.’ It’s like racism is the big issue, but what about sexism? That’s the issue for me, sexism. Fitzgerald’s has hosted all genres of music over the last 40 years. There’s not one type of music we haven’t had represented here. We’ve had every kind of blues acts, country, Hispanic. There’s no racism here, but I won’t tolerate sexism. I’ve worked hard as a woman to build this business and I don’t allow people to come into my building and say ‘bitch’ and ‘ho.’ I’m not a bitch, I’m not a ho. I don’t appreciate that language. The language I sent back to him was all words from that song. I did not make those words up, I was referring to that song. The song was a rant about his pussy cheating on him and now he’s going to smoke somebody. You don’t own a woman."
Celebrities have come forward to support TrakkSounds, calling for a boycott of the venue. Comedian Hannibal Buress, who performed at Fitz last Friday, shared his disdain for the comments, as did Kam Franklin, lead vocalist for The Suffers.
Yeesh. Just worked at this spot on Friday. Never again though. https://t.co/qhAheq1PR8— Hannibal Buress (@hannibalburess) February 7, 2017
Fitzgerald's responded to Trakksounds' tweet this morning, saying: "Boycott away. We do not host misogynistic music that worships rape culture and harbors hatred."