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Bourbon heiress claims homophobia rampant in her family's company

According to Hollis Bulleit she and her girlfriend Cher were subject to discrimination from family's Bourbon business.
Photo credit:
Angela Jimenez

Hollis Bulleit, heiress to Bulleit Bourbon has made some serious accusations about how the company treated her. 

She wrote a long public letter on Facebook saying that because she is gay, the company and her family have ostracized her from both the business and relatives. 

She says she noticed the cold-shoulder treatment started with her girlfriend Cher being uninvited to get togethers and social functions.

“When my step-grandmother passed I got a text,” she writes. “In 2008, I was asked to come home for Christmas; yet Cher was not invited. The only holiday that we attended was Thanksgiving in 2016, and then we were promptly uninvited via text from the following core family Christmas.”

Bulleit Bourbon is owned by Diageo corporation but is still under the management of the family.  

She wonders why as an employee, there were no provisions or resources available to her to help in the struggle. 

“I find it odd that I did not benefit from the departments and safeguards that are put into place to either intervene or provide mediation or educational diversity training as would be the expected protocol for employees in this type of situation.

“In light of my experience, I do not understand how the company I worked for is on many of the top 10/ 50/ 100 “best places” for LGBTQIA employees to work.”

Last Christmas Bulleit says she got a text message saying she was fired and would no longer be associated with the product.

“After ten years of experience, one could conclude that no one knew what to do with a non-straight woman besides ignore me and reap the benefits of my relationships and sales. Shortly after coming out the closet a decade ago not one family photo has been taken of me (or with me and Cher) with the core Bulleit family… For the past decade, I have held these secrets.”

Bulleit ends the post by saying the state of American politics right now is perpetuating discrimination and that is forcing some people to be untrue to themselves. 

“Everything is not okay. Everything is far from okay. Our president just tried to impose a transgender military ban – wake up. Unfortunately people know the “right” things to say, but they do not believe them – it translates to hidden homophobia, transphobia, and racism. I should never have been put in a position to hide my family’s homophobia or my company’s complacency in order to keep my job. I did nothing wrong. I have nothing to be ashamed of. But the punishments, the silent treatments, and the threats continue. When you chose to be silent in the face of this type of behavior you are not being well mannered. You are choosing to hide because you can and you are protecting yourself. Which on a personal level leaves people like me isolated, powerless, and vulnerable to powerful institutions.”

You can read her full post HERE