‘It’s a thing of beauty’: Metro yarn shop bans hate speech to ensure inclusivity

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The owner of one metro yarn shop is taking a little bit of the "social" out of her business. It's all about what you can and can't say.

Trish Fitzsimmons put the finishing touches on a project Wednesday as she prepared to open the doors to her business, Yarn Social.

It's a yarn shop for fiber art lovers. People can shop, learn to knit and also participate in weekly knitting circles during social hours.

"It's a thing of beauty. It's an artistic expression," Fitzsimmons said.

In an effort to ensure inclusivity, she's banned talk about offensive topics. This comes after a social networking site for knitters called Raverly, enacted a similar policy.

"Within the fiber arts community, particularly on Instagram, there's been a conversation going on all year around this. So it's been an opportunity for people like myself to educate themselves about people who don't look like me, for people who aren't like me," Fitzsimmons said.

Even though Fitzsimmons is in support of Ravelry, she said she is not banning support of the president.

"Within my store people are free to talk about what they want. But certainly if someone is doing or saying something that is making other people feel uncomfortable, I will step in and put a stop to that," Fitzsimmons said.

Fitzsimmons hasn't received many complaints about the new policy.

"I think people who have expressed maybe being sad or upset about our support of Ravelry, there have been a few and I respect how they feel," Fitzsimmons said.

First Amendment rights lawyer Bernie Rhodes said business owners like Fitzsimmons will continue to make decisions to make her customers comfortable.

"We talk about white supremacy. It's really, for a business, green supremacy. What do my customers want? What do most of my customers want and how can I make the biggest buck?" Rhodes said.

In a statement, the chairwoman of Jackson County's Republican Committee, Jennifer Finch, tells FOX4 conservatives and others should learn about talking with each other, rather than stifling conversation.

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