Ann and Paul Tuennerman Resign from Tales of the Cocktail

By B.E. Mintz |

In a shock announcement Saturday evening, Tales of the Cocktail co-founders Ann and Paul Tuennerman resigned from their roles with the company that produces the annual festival. The announcement came after 24 hours of backlash in the wake of Neat Pour’s revelation that Ann Tuennerman had reinstated Paul Tuennerman to the Company’s leadership on Thursday, causing outrage and resignations from the Tales Diversity Council.

The statement explained that current Director of Operations Melissa Young will be assuming an unspecified leadership role at MOJO911 LLC, the company owned by the Tuennermans that also produces the annual Tales event. Ann and Paul would be “transitioning away” from their current roles. No additional specifics concerning new roles or specific titles were supplied. Melissa Young is traveling to Europe and could not be reached for comment.

So far it is unclear if ownership stake in MOJO911 LLC has changed. It is assumed the Tuennermans still retain full ownership of the company behind Tales, as Ann had disclosed that Paul had retained his 50% ownership stake in MOJO911 LLC even during his seven months away from the company after his initial resignation in March 2017.

After Neat Pour‘s story about Paul Tuennerman’s reinstatement was published, social media erupted. Likes, comments, and shares, most of them critical, swelled. By Saturday afternoon, rumors about sponsors withdrawing began to swirl.

“We have devoted our professional careers to the hospitality industry even before the formation of Tales of the Cocktail and the New Orleans Culinary and Cultural Preservation Society,” stated Ann Tuennerman in the release. “Our goal has always been to create something lasting that can benefit the industry and the people of New Orleans well beyond our years. This allows that to continue.”

The issues began with outcry over the behavior of the husband and wife owners of the Tales organization earlier this year. The Tuennermans wore black face as part of a Mardi Gras parade tradition, and Paul made racially insensitive remarks on social media just a few months before their annual summer cocktail festival. The fallout was swift, with Paul Tuennerman resigning, and Ann Tuennerman doing damage control to resuscitate Tales of the Cocktail‘s reputation and relationships with large corporate sponsors.

After the controversy, many minority members of the bar community reached out to Tales in an attempt to create some positive impact from the founders’ mistakes. Ideas and programs were proposed to do more to educate and communicate to the bar community ways it can be more inclusive of minority voices and needs, resulting in the creation of the Diversity Council. However, after Ann announced Paul’s return to Tales, Council Co-chair Colin Asare-appiah resigned in protest and other Council members told Neat Pour that they intended to follow suit.

This story will be updated with additional information from parties involved.

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