Alex Blaze

Vegetarians are so gay

Filed By Alex Blaze | January 30, 2009 2:30 PM | comments

Filed in: The Movement
Tags: finance industry, France, homophobic behavior, lawsuit, Ryan Pacifico, Vegetarian

Apparently ryan pacifico.jpga master of the universe can be completely incompetent, but he can't be vegetarian. A foreign exchange trader in NYC is suing because, he says, his boss made up an excuse to fire him after letting loose a slew of homophobic taunts related to his vegetarianism.

"A trading floor is certainly a manly man's world," Pacifico said. "I just never expected someone to think it's gay to be a vegetarian or to constantly poke fun at me."
The 28-year-old Long Island man worked as a junior foreign-exchange trader in Manhattan for the firm from 2005 until he was fired last March.

Pacifico's discrimination lawsuit, filed in Manhattan Supreme Court, contends the firm cooked up lies about his job performance to fire him - when the real factors were that he was a vegetarian who was perceived to be gay by boss Robert Catalanello.

Maybe someone with some sensitivity towards animals would be well-advised not to get into a field that's rife with assholes.

It is a ridiculous stereotype to associate heterosexuality with eating meat. If anything, it's the gay men who have a reputation for...

But that's not what this dude's lawyer is saying:

"They associated being a vegetarian with being gay," said Rick Ostrove, a lawyer for Pacifico. "It's a ridiculous male stereotype that only real men eat meat."

But this is the lawyer for the plaintiff who's saying that gay men aren't "real men"? I mean, I don't have any real desire to fit in with "real men," but the way that lawyer said that makes it sound like gay men are damaged goods.

It really decreases the amount of sympathy I have for this dude, especially considering some of his other comments about foreign-exchange traders having to be "manly men." Where does that leave women? Or actually-feminine men? Is his suit saying that people shouldn't be fired for not fitting into male gender stereotypes or that those stereotypes should just be used properly in the future?

"It's his fault for being a vegetarian homo," Catalanello is accused of saying.

The suit also charges that the boss crudely poked fun at Pacifico last March during a conversation about steakhouses.

"You don't even eat steak, dude," Catalanello is accused of saying. "At what point in time did you realize you were gay?"

Personally, I'm so detached from this story, and I'm a gay vegetarian. I just don't have much respect for the world of master financiers, the people who Alan Greenspan thought were so prescient, intelligent, and self-restrained that they could regulate themselves. Obviously, they're about as big of assholes as my high school history teacher was.

I'm chatting with my sister about this while I'm typing up this post, and she mentioned that he's probably just looking for a quick buck with this lawsuit. Yeah, usually I wouldn't jump to that conclusion when someone's suing an employer for wrongful termination, but this man wanted (and probably still wants) to make his career and fortune off playing with money. There's no reason to believe that he doesn't just see this lawsuit as another money game.

Also too:

Ryan Pacifico is suing Calyon in the Americas, charging that his one-time boss at the French financial firm presided over a testosterone-fueled trading desk, where he was mocked for avoiding meat and wearing snug-fitting shorts during triathlons.

It's a French firm? And the guy working there had a problem with a man wearing those tight athletic shorts? What's next, middle management folks at Toyota complaining about how the Japanese are destroying American auto-making?

Funny sidenote: Calyon in the Americas is the American investment arm of Crédit Agricole, the bank I was contractually forced into using the last time I lived in France (long story about that stupid contract...). They were, by far, the most awful bank I've ever had the displeasure of working with. Rude, incompetent, lazy... and I've had accounts at other French banks!

In other words, every player in this story annoys me to no end.

Update: For some more background, a commenter at Pandagon adds:

Yes, there is a trend up here in NYC

But it has nothing to do with vegetarians or gays. Not to answer one stereotype with another......but this boss is in a field pretty rife with asshattery. If I ever find myself sitting at a restaurant next to a Wall Street trader type yammering on a Bluetooth, I try to change seats as quickly as possible, because I know I'm about to hear a cascade of idiocy flowing.

I'll never forget being stuck on a train with one group of teens whose dads were in the field, and they were talking about how they were going to spend their first million and such. One was rooting for Castro to die because he thought once that happened, he'd be able to go into Cuba and buy up a bunch of property and make a ton of dough. Of course, "that's so gay," "fag" or "faggot" was about every third word/phrase out of their mouths.

One of the few bright sides of this economic freefall is seeing these self-important financial firm big shots be taken down a few notches. These guys have gotten too far for too long with a lot of money and not a lot of brains.

I've worked with these sorts of folks before. That description sounds about right.


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Welcome to the corporate world. This isn't academia or a field closely related with education. Any difference will be pounced upon; and if you object, they'll just toss their "PC-nazi" drivel at you.

That's exactly what I was thinking when I was reading this. It's hard to have sympathy.

It sounds to me like he's really just trying to claim discrimination for being vegetarian. But, since vegetarians aren't a protected class, he needs to make the link to gays in order to make this one stick.

I wonder about that too. NY has job protections for "real and perceived" sexual orientation, but does "perceived" mean that the employer has to actually believe that the employee is gay? This guy had a wife, and I'm guessing everyone he worked with knew that, so he probably knew that Ryan was actually straight but was just calling him a homo.

Does that count as "perceived" sexual orientation?

I think it could maybe fit in under gender expression, since "gay" when not used literally means that the target isn't a Real Man. Maybe.

All your criticisms are spot-on, except for this one:

"I dunno. Maybe someone with some sensitivity towards animals would be well-advised not to get into a field that's rife with assholes."

Yeah -- but then, actual gay people would be well-advised not to play most sports, and women of all sorts would be well-advised to stay the hell out of the office. These laws [i]exist[/i] to open up traditionally bigoted environments. So although I have limited sympathy for this Pacifico guy, I don't object to the broader idea that lawsuits can be brought against predictable homophobia/racism/misogyny/whatever.

Yeah, but gender expression isn't protected in the state of NY, and neither is gender ID. Maybe he could have gone with a quasi-religious argument and say that it's part of his personal belief system or some such thing? I don't know.

And totally on your second point.

Oops -- for some reason I was sure it was. My bad.

Weren't you the one who posted about the UK court of apeals that decided that a man could be the victim of homophobic harrassment even though he wasn't gay, his coworkers didn't think he was gay, and he knew they didn't think he was gay? (If not, http://www.365gay.com/news/court-straight-man-can-be-victim-of-homophobia/) This seems like a case with the potential for a decision like that one, maybe.

Why does diet or homosexuality have anything to do with the fact that this man was being ridiculed by his employer. Personally ridiculed in the workplace is not good for the place or the man who suffered.

Straight male omnivore | October 18, 2010 9:04 PM

First things first:
1) everyone needs to stop being such sensitive little babies. Straight or gay, man up. If your boss isn't keen on vegetarianism, so what?? If he wants to call you a homo, don't cry about it, just get him back professionally. Especially when dealing with the money business, nobody is going to fire you if you work hard and produce. The bottom line is exactly that.

2) whoever said that this guy is trying to sue because of vegetarian prejudice is exactly right. If you open your eyes, you'll see right through this shmuck. He is trying to link being ridiculed for being a vegetarian to anti-homosexual bigotry. It's insulting to put his weak-ass case on the same level as real anti-homosexual civil rights cases. The boss could have just as easily called him a bitch for being a vegetarian. If he had, would he be suing for gender discrimination? I suspect he would.

3) I think people who refuse to eat meat because it's mean are stupid. It's my personal feeling, and I have every right to feel that way. If I tell a coworker my feelings, he has just as much right to tell me I'm stupid back. I am pissed off about the fact that nonsensical cases like this one are heard. AT MY EXPENSE no less. As taxpayers, we should all be pissed off about it.

4) you can not legislate away assholeness. We live in the real world. It is a world that is, at times, ugly and not very nice. Still, we are real people. We are not smurfs. Sometimes life presents you with situations that are not smurfy. Too god damned bad! Deal with it. If we could jail people for being dicks, cops would all drive buses instead of cars. Here's what you do: act better than them. Teach your kids to act better. Be responsible for your tiny little part of the world, and when you move up in the world, expect more of those around you.