Rulings

Judge rules that bars can kick out patrons wearing MAGA hats

Last year, a man from Philadelphia visited a bar in New York City and ended up leaving “humiliated, degraded, victimized, embarrassed and emotionally distressed” after he was refused service.

Greg Piatek, 31, claimed he was denied drinks at The Happiest Hour bar last January because he was wearing a red “Make America Great Again” hat. According to Piatek, the episode left him with “anxiety and severe emotional distress,” prompting him to sue the bar’s owner for “egregious, unlawful, and discriminatory conduct.”

Piatek’s lawyers argued that he was kicked out because he was “adhering to his closely held spiritual beliefs by adorning the hat in question.”

Greg Piatek (New York Post)

“The Make American Great Again hat was part of his spiritual belief,” Piatek’s attorney, Paul Liggieri, claimed in court according to VICE News. “Rather than remove his hat, instead he held true to his spiritual belief and was forced from the bar.”

The bar’s legal team argued that support for Trump “is not a religion” and is not covered by state discrimination laws. The judge agreed and ruled Piatek’s team failed to establish “any faith-based principle to which the hat relates,” thus dismissing the lawsuit.

A statement from the bar’s owner points out that The Happiest Hour’s outlook is antithetical to what “MAGA” stands for, saying the bar’s employees support “women’s rights, marriage equality, gun control, the environment, and regard for the truth.”

“What’s gotten lost in this story is that the guest wasn’t kicked out because he was wearing a Trump hat,” bar owner Jon Neidich‘s statement read.

“He was asked to leave after being verbally abusive to our staff, which is something we don’t tolerate regardless of who you are.”

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