Whiskey Heir Says She Was Sacked for Being Lesbian

Hollis Bulleit says she came out 10 years ago but was rejected by her family
By Linda Hervieux,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 3, 2017 9:50 AM CDT
Whiskey Heir Says She Was Sacked for Being Lesbian
Hollis Bulleit says she was pushed out of the family business for being lesbian.   (Facebook)

After working for more than two decades at the whiskey business her father re-founded, Hollis Bulleit says she was fired by email right before Christmas because she refused to stay silent about being a lesbian. Dubbed the "First Lady of Bourbon," Bulleit says she has kept mum at work for a decade since her family rejected her after she came out to them, Forbes reports. "One is not respecting personal family business by staying silent when people's civil rights are at stake," she writes in a series of Facebook posts. The 43-year-old says the sacking happened one month after she brought her decade-long partner, Cher, to Thanksgiving—uninvited. "We were promptly uninvited via text from the following core family Christmas," she writes. The headdress-wearing heiress and brand ambassador for Bulleit Frontier Whiskey—the world's largest liquor supplier—then recounts a series of slights.

She and Cher "were erased and no one lifted a finger," she writes. She doesn't accuse Bulleit Frontier Whiskey's corporate owner, Diageo, of explicit homophobia itself, but she faults bosses there for failing to intervene when her family ostracized her. "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," she writes. Diageo has repeatedly been named as a "Best Place to Work for LGBT Equality," the San Francisco Gate notes. The company denies discrimination, saying it was a contract dispute that led to Hollis Bulleit's departure. "We are very proud of our long track record of work, through many of our brands, to support the LGBT community," Diageo says in a statement. (An April court ruling was a "game changer" for LGBT workplace rights.)

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