A Philadelphia accountant who was kicked out of a trendy New York City bar for wearing a “Make America Great Again” baseball cap has changed his mind.
At first, Greg Piatek filed a lawsuit claiming discrimination. But since that fell flat, he’s now claiming he was discriminated because of his religion.
Back in March, Piatek was given the boot from “The Happiest Hour,” a trendy hotspot on West 10th Street for wearing a hat signaling his ardent support of President Donald Trump.
As he was told to leave, the manager told him: “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!”
It all started when Piatek and his two buddies visited the bar after a trip to the 9/11 Memorial. A female bartender served him a $15 jalapeño margarita and his friends got beers.
But when they ordered their second round, a male bartender noticed the hat and skipped them. One of Piatek’s pals pointed out it was their “turn” to be served, but the bartender just looked at them and said “Is that hat a joke?”
“Immediately it clicked,” Piatek said, adding that bartenders didn’t see the pro-Trump slogan until he turned his back to the bar.
“Ignoring me because I’m wearing the hat is ridiculous,” Piatek said. “It’s really sad.”
Eventually, they got their drinks, but the bartender “slammed the drinks down” in anger.
A third bartender noticed the hat and said ““I can’t believe you would support someone so terrible and you must be as terrible a person!” Piatek claimed.
“I wasn’t even trying to order a drink and she said, ‘Don’t even try to order from me. I won’t get you a drink,’” he alleged.
The bar owner was eventually contacted, who said “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!”
Piatek then filed a discrimination lawsuit against the bar.
But when that didn’t work, Piatek changed his lawsuit claiming he’s a member of a “protected class,” likening his support for the MAGA motto to a religious belief. The Gothamist reports:
Citing an “expansive definition of creed,” an attorney for plaintiff Greg Piatek filed court papers last week claiming he was “adhering to his closely held spiritual beliefs by adorning the hat in question.” Those spiritual beliefs “entirely transcend the political realm,” the suit claims, and are supposedly loosely related to the 30-year-old tourist’s sympathy for the victims of 9/11.
That sympathy, and his choice to express it through the president’s preferred hat, qualifies Piatek as “a member of a protected class…[who] was discriminated against on account of his membership in that class.” The suit references the court’s previous recognition of non-traditional creeds, like the refusal of anti-vaccination parents to inoculate their children, as precedence for Piatek’s claim.
“A religious belief can appear to every other member of the human race preposterous,” the memo acknowledges, “yet still be entitled to protection.”
Meanwhile, the attorney for the West Village bar, Preston Ricardo, said the suit was nonsense.
“The plaintiff’s vague and conclusory arguments are entirely fanciful,” Ricardo told Gothamist. “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.”