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Alberta Store Facing Boycotts After Owner Sent Transphobic Email To Pride Organizers

The store confirmed he has been "removed from the company."

Calgary Staff Writer
Valbella Gourmet Foods in Canmore.

Valbella Gourmet Foods in Canmore.

A food store in Canmore, Alberta, has apologized after its owner sent a transphobic email to the organizers of Canmore Pride.

This article contains content that may be upsetting to some of our readers.

Canmore Pride told Narcity it reached out to the owners of Valbella Gourmet Foods to ask whether they would be interested in sponsoring or providing food donations for an inclusive climbing event it was planning to hold in September.

However, the email the organization received in response to its request — which was also seen by Narcity — targeted trans communities.

Signed by "Jeff von Rotz," who identified himself as "owner" of the company. The email read, "I'm sorry to say but you could not pay me to sponsor anything to do with child grooming tr*****."

It continued: "Please keep these sick people away from the children of this community. You should be disgusted with yourselves.

"I'm sure there's some woke organization mentally ill enough to help you with your event but it isn't Valbella's."

The email, which began circulating online, quickly received a lot of backlash, resulting in the company being given a string of one-star Google reviews that directly referenced the incident.

Several companies that worked with Valbella have also voiced their decision to stop working with the brand, including the Banff Centre, CultivatR and the Fairmont hotels at Banff Springs and Jasper Park Lodge.

In a statement shared with Narcity, Valbella Gourmet Foods said the owners and leadership of the company are "deeply sorry" to the Canmore LBGTQ+ community for the "intolerant email."

The employee who sent the email "has been removed from the company and its operations," they said.

The company added that the words of the individual involved "do not reflect the opinions of the many people who work as part of the Valbella team."

Canmore Pride told Narcity the transphobic reply it had received from the local business "further reinforces the importance of education" to keep 2SLGBTQIA+ communities safe.

Canmore Pride said it had also started a training program for businesses in the Bow Valley to educate them on how they can make their operations "more safe and inclusive" for the community.

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