Manhattan judge Justice David Cohen has ruled that bar owners can go ahead and feel free to kick Trump supporters the hell out of their watering holes. The reason: no, liking Trump is not a religion, which some MAGA-hat-wearing guy’s lawyer tried to argue.
This is one of those stories where you go in thinking, “yes, this guy sounds like a jackass,” but the more you read, the worse it gets. An accountant from Philadelphia named Greg Piatek, according to the New York Post, got bounced from cocktail bar and restaurant The Happiest Hour when he and his friends complained that a bartender was being rude to him. The events, according to Piatek’s lawsuit: He’d finished his jalapeño margarita and was ready for round two, but when the bartender saw his MAGA hat, he “scoffed,” said “Is that hat a joke?” and, after fetching their damn drinks, allegedly “slammed the drinks down.”
Piatek and company asked to speak to a manager. Take it away, Post:
A manager said he spoke to the bar owner, and was told, “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!,” according to the suit… Piatek’s lawyer Paul Liggieri called the incident “humiliating,” saying it was his client’s “saddest hour.”
So Piatek decided to sue The Happiest Hour, which we should mention is located on 10th Street in the West Village and has fun cocktails and a burger that the New York Times described as a “showstopper.” According to the lawsuit, the bar “offended his sense of being American.”
The bar’s lawyer, said the Post, pointed out that while religious beliefs would fall under discrimination laws, political beliefs do not. And what’s when Piatek’s lawyer argued that, ahem:
“The purpose of the hat is that he wore it because he was visiting the 9/11 Memorial… He was paying spiritual tribute to the victims of 9/11. The Make American Great Again hat was part of his spiritual belief,” [his attorney] Liggieri claimed. Piatek and his pals had, in fact, visited the memorial before the bar.
“Rather than remove his hat, instead he held true to his spiritual belief and was forced from the bar,” Liggieri said.
Justice Cohen, naturally, asked about this hat-related religion of Piatek’s, wondering how exactly the bar staff were supposed to know about his “faith.” Though he did not inquire as to how Piatek got to be so tactless, he did wonder how popular this, er, religion of his might be:
“How many members are in this spiritual program that your client is engaged in?” the judge asked.
“Your honor, we don’t allege the amount of individuals,” Liggieri said.
“So, it’s a creed of one?” the judge asked.
“Yes, your honor,” Liggieri replied.
Ultimately, Justice Cohen ruled that yeah, dude, your stupid hat’s not a religion, and that while the bar may have been “petty,” saying that a Trump voter can’t stay in your bar isn’t “outrageous conduct” and isn’t illegal. As a reminder, the “petty” bar can be found at 121 West 1oth, where they have fried chicken, root beer floats, shrimp tacos, and other good things on the menu.
Piatek is reportedly considering an appeal, because of course he is. Perhaps he could weigh his options over a nice jalapeño margarita. Oh, wait. Sorry.