Judge says a bar refusing service to Trump supporters is not “outrageous” conduct
In early April 2018, a New York City judge ruled in favor of a bar, The Happiest Hour, which had been taken to court for throwing out Trump supporters. The judge stated that while the law protects against religious discrimination, it says nothing on political discrimination.
31-year-old Philadelphia accountant Greg Piatek was kicked out of the West Village hot spot for wearing a “Make America Great Again” hat.
While he was shown the door, Piatek says he was told by The Happiest Hour’s staff, “Anyone who supports Trump — or believes what you believe — is not welcome here! And you need to leave right now because we won’t serve you!” Piatek claims he was told as he was shown the door by a manager.”
This occurred in January 2017 after Trump was sworn in as President. So, Piatek sued in the Manhattan Supreme Court.
However, the bar’s lawyer, Elizabeth Conway, argued that political beliefs are not protected under city and state law. “Supporting Trump is not a religion,” Conway said.
Paul Liggieri, Piatek’s attorney, argued in court, “The purpose of the hat is that he wore it because he was visiting the 9/11 Memorial.”
Liggieri continued, “He was paying spiritual tribute to the victims of 9/11. The ‘Make American Great Again’ hat was part of his spiritual belief. Rather than remove his hat, instead he held true to his spiritual belief and was forced from the bar.”
Justice David Cohen pressed Liggieri for clarification on Piatek’s “spiritual program.”
“So, it’s a creed of one?” the judge asked.
“Yes, your honor,” Liggieri replied.
Cohen ruled in favor of the bar and shared, “Plaintiff does not state any faith-based principle to which the hat relates.”
He continues, “Here the claim that plaintiff was not served and eventually escorted out of the bar because of his perceived support for President Trump is not outrageous conduct.”