Despite a firestorm of negative feedback on its Facebook page regarding a post by the management of the Jacks or Better Casino yacht, the vessel is fully booked for its upcoming cruise on Friday.
The general manager of the company that owns the Galveston-based gambling ship said that its post on Facebook on Monday soliciting opinions on whether or not to fire David Kendrick, the captain of the ship, was met with intense backlash including foul language and threats.
“HIRE OR FIRE?” the post asked. “Jacks or Better Casino must make a decision before we reopen on April 28. Should we reinstate Captain David Kendrick or should we fire him?”
General Manager Rocky Herrin said Tuesday that Kendrick, who was at the helm of the vessel on Saturday, April 15 when it crashed into a buoy marker on at a jetty in Galveston Bay where it docks, was consulted about the Facebook post prior to it going up.
Herrin said, “We posted it with his approval, but the verbiage was not right,” Herrin said. “It backfired — being social media — the backfire being that people thought we’ve hung him out to dry,” according to the Houston Chronicle.
Captain Kendrick recently posted a statement on Facebook saying that he was fully aware of the post in regard to the incident and ongoing investigation. “Although I did not expect the most recent post about my being “fired or Re-Hired” to create such chaos, I was aware and approved it,” the post read. Kendrick went on to say that due to the Facebook post and subsequent exposure, he was “offered another Captain’s position on an oil field related vessel,” but that after meeting with that company and further discussions with Jacks or Better management, he prefers to stay on as Captain on Jacks or Better. He said that both management and his co-workers have stood behind him since the crash that, according to management caused a 6-foot starboard gash and other minimal structural damage.
Herrin said that after the crash, the posts on Facebook were overwhelmingly supportive of the captain and that management hoped to give Kendrick’s backers a voice in whether to retain him or not. “It wasn’t going to sway myself or the owners one way or the other,” Herrin said. “It was just to show that everybody is behind the captain,” according to the news agency.
A second post, which replaced the original, explained why the first post was removed and spoke to the condemnation of management and employees received and the telephone threats against them and their families. The post went on to state that “Dog poop was actually thrown on the GM’s front door. Further, there is talk of a boycott against JOB when we sail again on April 28th. JOB made the decision to delete the thread because of the vitriolic criticism and the animosity that followed.”
The company said in its post, “We did not anticipate the misunderstanding that the thread would cause. For that, JOB offers its sincere apology; not for content, but for verbiage.”
Herrin reportedly checked the names of the individuals making the negative posts against the ship’s rolls and found that none of them had ever boarded the Jacks or Better yacht. He said the owners of the gambling yacht are expected to decide on Wednesday whether or not to retain Kendricks, according to the report.
In spite of the fray, Herrin said business has not been adversely affected and that the ship is fully booked for its April 28th cruise, the first since the collision. He added that bad weather could possibly interfere with Friday’s cruise, however. He said that repairs to the damage sustained in the accident are expected to be completed on Wednesday.
Jacks or Better Casino, formerly the Aransas Queen Casino, offers approximately 180 slots and 12 gaming tables. The gambling vessel holds up to 350 passengers but its average cruise is about 100, with the exception of weekends.