The ACLU has filed a complaint against a Louisville, Kentucky McDonalds after an employee at the restaurant called two gay men and their friends "faggots" and a series of other anti-gay slurs. The group was visiting Louisville for the weekend from Indianapolis, Indiana. The ACLU is filing the complaint with the Louisville Human Relations Commission since the city has a local human rights ordinance which prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation in public accommodations such as restaurants.
Ryan Marlatt, Teddy Eggers, and three other friends had stopped for lunch at a McDonald's restaurant on East Market Street on July 26, 2008 while visiting Louisville for the weekend. While they waited for their food to be prepared, an employee behind the counter referred to them as "faggots" to another employee. Marlatt and Eggers then approached the cashier, said they didn't come to the restaurant to be insulted, and asked to speak with a manager. As they waited for the supervisor on duty to appear, the employee who had called them "faggots" started arguing with them, repeatedly calling them "faggots" in front of other customers and calling one of them a "cocksucker" and "bitch."
The full account after the jump.
"Nobody should be treated the way my friends and I were at that McDonald's," said Eggers of Indianapolis, Indiana. "When we finally got to speak with a supervisor, she said she didn't see what the big deal was. I couldn't believe what was happening."
The supervisor on duty refused to refund the group's purchase, claiming that only the restaurant's general manager could authorize a refund. Marlatt said he attempted several times in the following weeks to contact both the general manager of the McDonald's and the corporate offices. But when he filed reports with a corporate customer service number for McDonald's, Marlatt said, he never received any sort of response, and every time he called the McDonald's where the incident took place the staff hung up on him.
"It may just be a few dollars for a Big Mac and some fries, but if I'm going to spend my hard earned money anywhere I should be able to do so without being verbally abused," said Marlatt. "The original name-calling was bad enough, but the fact that McDonald's refuses to do anything to make this right just adds injury to the insult."
The pair did say that they appreciated that one employee, a cashier, did try and help:
"The cashier was the only person behind the counter who seemed to get that this was wrong, and she was trying to get the woman who was calling us names to stop," said Eggers. "We really appreciated that she was at least trying to do the right thing when nobody else would."
Nothing like getting harassed while just trying to get a bite to eat. Like the ACLU said: I'm NOT "Loving it."
The pair are asking for an apology, a refund of the 28 dollars they spent on the McDonald's meal, and appropriate disciplinary action for the employees involved. One has to wonder why the usually gay-friendly chain has not yet responded...
You can read the complaint here.