image.jpg

Blues on Whyte has responded to a campaign to boycott the bar after an employee wrote a letter in support of convicted sex offender Matthew McKnight.

Marty Melnychuk, who is the general manager at Blues on Whyte wrote a letter in support of McKnight that was entered into court records during his July sentencing hearing for sexually assaulting five women.

Melnychuk and McKnight had worked together at a different Edmonton bar for several years.

"Matt was one of the best people I have worked with in over a decade in the hospitality industry," he wrote in the letter.

"I sincerely believe that he deserves a second chance."

Blues on Whyte is now facing a boycott as a result of the letter.

"It was like a stab in the stomach," said one of McKnight’s accusers, whose identity is protected by a court-ordered publication ban.

"The network of people that enabled it and surrounded him are still in Edmonton."

On Friday evening, the bar posted a statement on social media regarding the letter.

In statement, Director Rose Ross said the bar has faced threats as a result of the letter.

“I wish Marty had not written a letter that supported him in any way. I know Marty wishes he had not written a letter that unintentionally caused further suffering to for the victims. But Marty was asked to provide a letter about what he knew of McKnight and he did,” she wrote.

“Our culture at Blues on Whyte is and always has been rich in diversity and respect. In no other bar that I know is the message of zero tolerance for abuse and disrespect louder than this one.”

McKnight has been sentenced to eight years in prison. The Crown has appealed the sentence, while McKnight is appealing his conviction.