Fans expressed disappointment after Bass shared a reel to his Instagram story calling on Christians to stop buying from the U.S. companies over their Pride-themed campaigns.
Blue Jays pitcher Anthony Bass has apologized after sharing a social media post promoting the anti-LGBTQ campaigns to boycott Target and Bud Light over their Pride-themed partnerships and campaigns.
On Monday, Bass shared a reel to his Instagram story calling on Christians to stop buying from the U.S. companies — echoing campaigns fuelled by homophobic and transphobic sentiments of American political commentators and conservative politicians.
“Here’s the reason biblically why I believe Christians have got to be boycotting Target, Bud Light, and any other corporation that’s pushing the things they’re pushing,” the video says.
The original poster, “@dudewithgoodnews” continues to call the boycott a move against what is “evil” and “demonic,” and being shoved “into children’s faces.”
Later Tuesday afternoon, Bass told reporters that he was sorry for his actions.
“I recognize yesterday I made a post that was hurtful to the Pride community, which includes friends of mine and close family members of mine, and I’m truly sorry for that,” Bass said in a brief statement to the media.
The pitcher said he was using the Blue Jays’ resources to “better educate” himself to “make better decisions going forward.”
“The ballpark is for everybody,” Bass continued. “We include all fans at the ballpark and we want to welcome everybody.”
Responding to a request for comment, the Blue Jays told the Star in a statement that “individual player sentiments are not representative of the club’s beliefs.”
“The Blue Jays bring millions of fans together across Canada and are committed to providing an inclusive and welcoming experience for all,” the statement reads. “The Blue Jays are proud to celebrate LGBTQ2S+ Pride Month, including a special fourth annual Pride Weekend at the ballpark June 9 and 10, and demonstrations of allyship all month long around the ballpark.”
The Jays haven’t yet announced any action against Bass. In the past, however, players who made homophobic comments have been suspended — like Blue Jays outfielder Kevin Pillar, who was suspended for two games after yelling a homophobic slur at an opponent. Years earlier, then-Jays shortstop Yunel Escobar was suspended three games after writing a homophobic slur under his eyes in eye black; he was traded to the Miami Marlins soon after.
Bud Light, for its part, became the centre of controversy, particularly in the United States, after it partnered with trans TikTokker Dylan Mulvaney in early April. The backlash to the partnership was filled with hate and transphobia (Kid Rock notably posted a video of himself shooting cases of Bud Light), and saw two marketing executives take a leave of absence.
Social media users, however, are slamming Bass — and the Blue Jays — for his stance.
“Racism isn’t tolerated in locker rooms, and neither should non support of LGBTQ rights,” one Twitter user wrote. “If you can’t support your team mates, there’s the door — get out. Because I guarantee Bass has both team mates of colour and who fit in the LGBTQ community.”
Another user criticized Bass’s skill and added that “his value as a player is eliminated by his hateful POV.”
Someone else added that they were happy to see that Blue Jays fans weren’t keeping quiet about their distaste for the post.
“Proud to see many #BlueJays fans openly calling out Anthony Bass for sharing anti-LGBTQ+ propaganda on his social media,” they wrote. “This isn’t about freedom to practice religion, but that people shouldn’t feel free to openly promote and practice hate.”
Meanwhile, one Jays fan thought to channel her frustration into something more positive — donating to an organization that “promotes the health and well-being of LGBTQ2S+ people by helping to keep families together through Support and Education.”
“I donated $52 to Toronto PFLAG for Anthony Bass,” she wrote. “I encourage you to do similar. I chose PFLAG because they really helped some close family members of mine.”
The tweet has received hundreds of likes and received replies suggesting that other users followed her lead with donations.
The pitcher’s last faced controversy just a month ago, when he took to Twitter to voice his upset that a United Airlines flight attendant made his pregnant wife clean up popcorn spilled by one of their kids.
When asked on Twitter who he expected to clean up the mess, he responded, “The cleaning crew they hire!”
Many users responded by saying Bass displayed a sense of entitlement.