Thursday, November 09, 2006

Note to self—landscapers to avoid in the highly unlikely event I move to Texas

Here's the letter:

I am appreciative of your time on the phone today and glad you contacted us.
I need to tell you that we cannot meet with you because we choose not to work for homosexuals.

Best of luck in finding someone else to fill your landscaping needs.

All my best,


Todd and Sabrina Farber
Owners, Garden Guy, Inc.
visit us at:

Member of the Association of Professional Landscape Designers

Creating beautiful landscaping for Houston homeowners since 1991!

Phone 281-208-4400
Fax 1+801-365-9353

UPDATE: I've been asked to document this. It's actually old news—it was reported (from Houston) in the Los Angeles Times on Monday, by writer Lianne Hart. Here's an excerpt:

The co-owner of a landscaping company here called Garden Guy turned down a job last month by sending an e-mail to a man who had requested an estimate for work on his yard:

...[see above]

Floored, the recipient of the e-mail, Michael Lord, and his partner forwarded the message to dozens of friends. Within days the e-mail had spread across the Internet in blogs, websites and gardening forums from Seattle to Washington, D.C.

Farber and her husband, Todd, who've owned the landscaping company since 1991, were bombarded with profane phone calls and e-mails. Their online forum flooded with outraged posts.

"It blackens my mind to think that an alternative version of the KKK is alive & kicking in the USA," read one of the milder comments.

The Farbers, declining interviews, released a statement saying they "do not hate homosexuals" and "did not refuse service with malicious intent.... We meant to uphold our right as small business owners to choose who our clients are. We are humbly sorry for the hurt that it has caused."

And that's all I'll quote, as I dislike violating other people's copyright. But the simplest of googles will yield a rich harvest of commentary on this issue.


sewobsessed said...

That's a joke, right? Please say it is. That is just...unbelievable and shocking!

EAL said...

It's not a joke I would ever make. My husband told me about this--apparently it's caused quite a furor, and rightly so.

Annie in Austin said...

EAL, if you visit Texas - please come to Austin... it'll be okay!!

I went to the website - at least this guy seems to be an organic bigot.

Annie at the Transplantable Rose

EAL said...

Many in Buffalo regularly visit Austin for SxSW--I've heard it's a very cool place!

M Rodgers - West Village said...

Could you please provide some background about this post? I find it incredulous.

EAL said...

It's all over the internet, and has been reported by the Los Angeles Times and the Houston Chronicle. A visit to their site will show you that they think it's important to include long bible quotations about marriage along with listing the landscaping services they offer. (Not that there's anything wrong with bible quotations per se.)

M Rodgers - West Village said...

Thanks for the info - I did visit the site and saw the quotes. - oh, well - I guess they're off a lot of vendor lists for folks who can afford such a service. They lose.

Anonymous said...

The religious nuts have done more damage to this country than anyone else. They are a bunch of fucking nuts.

EAL said...

I should note that these Garden Guy people received such a flood of angry email on their forums that they had to disable them. I viewed the emails through the "cache" feature of google (always so handy). In any case, from what I saw, clearly most of the good people of Texas were totally outraged.

PamFromMD said...

Keith Olbermann covered this subject last night on MSNBC. Does the Farber family deserve to have their business fail b/c of their bigotry? I think yes. Would I try to bring down their business by spreading the word about them thru all media? Yes. Are they breaking any laws? I think so but am not sure. If I were the owner of a competing Houston landscaping business I would be pumping out ads right now declaring myself an equal opportunity landscaper. Bring on all that gay and lesbian business! That would be the most satisfying way to drum the Farbers out of business.

Pam said...

It's so blatant. It really is pretty amazing - and amazing that they get away with it. I can't imagine that this is the first such letter they've written. Thanks for bringing it to everyone's attention.

fairyfriend said...

Yes! It's about time that plant people started talking back to the bigots in the form of not doing business with them.

There is a huge gardening website that doesn't even acknowledge that there are a "few" gay people in the gardening community.It's a very conservative site but has lots of great members and lots of info so I'm still a member.I would love to speak my mind but would be thrown off.Any ideas?

Tea & Margaritas in My Garden said...

Wow! That is incredible!! These people who sit in the judgement seat of others really should read their bibles about who the "only" judge is.


lisa said...

You'd think if these people want to turn away business for such a stupid reason, they'd be smart enough not to actually ADMIT it, especially in print! Why not just turn down the job and keep the real reason to yourself! That's what I hate about the "religious right"-they think they know what everybody else should be doing, and are obnoxious enough to tell you all about it, like it or not! They have no sense of humility, or there actual place in the world...why, it never occurs to them that maybe nobody else values their opinion!

Anonymous said...

Oh my GOOO.......!!!!! It's the first I've heard of it and it is TOTALLY REDICULOUS! People are unbelievable.
Well, perhaps you will get more business out of the media coverage.

Anonymous said...

I'm late to be commenting, but my first thought when I read the letter was that maybe it was because of the homosexual stereotype: That all homosexuals have excellent taste and a fine sense of design/style so gardenguys were afraid they weren't up to the task. Haha