There may be something to that #Cult45 hashtag.
A Trump supporter is suing a New York City bar, claiming he was discriminated against because of his MAGA hat. He contends his alliance with Trump is a “spiritual belief,” making him part of a “protected class” commensurate to religion.
In January, 30-year-old Greg Paitek visited the Happiest Hour bar in Manhattan, wearing said crimson chapeau. He contends that he was called a “terrible person” by a bartender, asked if the hat was a “joke” while he was served, ignored by another barkeep, then cut off by a third. Then, he says, the manager had a bouncer kick him out altogether.
The bar’s management denies Piatek’s story, pointing out that he ran up a tab of $182, then left a perfectly generous 20% tip of $36.
But Piatek’s attorney has filed a lawsuit against the bar for “discriminatory conduct,” reports Gothamist. Piatek was “adhering to his closely held spiritual beliefs by adorning the hat in question,” his attorney says, and should be considered a member of a “protected class.”
“A religious belief can appear to every other member of the human race preposterous, yet still be entitled to protection,” says the suit, claiming the MAGA hat “transcends the political realm.”
Piatek says that he reported the incident to police but was told that it was not a criminal matter.
The bar’s management has asked for the lawsuit to be dismissed as frivolous. “The plaintiff’s vague and conclusory arguments are entirely fanciful,” said Preston Ricardo, an attorney for the bar. “They have no support in the law. And they continue to show that the action is nothing more than an ill-conceived publicity stunt guised as a lawsuit.”
“It doesn’t seem like Piatek has a case here,” writes Jarrett Lyons at Salon, “as it might be hard to say that getting cut off and kicked out of a bar after achieving a three-digit tab would be discriminatory. Though the Federal Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits discrimination by privately owned public accommodations on the basis of religion, the fact that Piatek was in fact served $180 worth of libations or food, means that he was served, however begrudgingly.”