Judge rules in favor of bar that kicked out patron for wearing "Make America Great Again" hat
Piatek's attorney however said that he was wearing the hat because he was visiting the 9/11 memorial and that the MAGA hat was part of his 'spiritual belief'.
On Wednesday, a Manhattan judge ruled that it is completely okay to throw out President Trump's supporters out of bars and restaurants, as the constitution does not protect citizens against discrimination based on political views.
According to a lawsuit, 31-year-old Greg Piatek, an accountant from Philadelphia, was kicked out of a West Village bar in January last year for wearing a “Make America Great Again” cap, just days after the commander-in-chief took the oath of office, reported the New York Post.
The staff of the Happiest Hour bar on West 10th Street told Piatek: “Anyone who supports Trump — or believes in what you believe — is not welcome here! And you need to leave right now because we won’t serve you!” This happened right after he and his friends complained about the impolite service they were receiving from a bartender at the hole.
Following the incident, Piatek sued them in the Manhattan Supreme Court, while claiming that the whole affair “offended his sense of being American.” That being said, Piatek was left speechless when the lawyer representing the bar, Elizabeth Conway, asserted that only religious, and not political, beliefs are protected under state and city discrimination laws. She went on to say that "supporting Trump is not a religion."
Piatek's attorney Paul Liggieri told Justice David Cohen in court on Wednesday, "The purpose of the hat is that he wore it because he was visiting the 9/11 Memorial."
The accountant had visited the 9/11 memorial with his buddies before visiting the bar. “He was paying spiritual tribute to the victims of 9/11. The Make American Great Again hat was part of his spiritual belief,” Liggieri claimed.
“Rather than remove his hat, instead he held true to his spiritual belief and was forced from the bar,” Liggieri said.
When Justice Cohen asked how the bar employees were supposed to be aware of Piatek's beliefs, Liggieri responded by saying: “They were aware he was wearing the hat.” Liggieri was further pushed by the judge on the idea of his client's creed.
“How many members are in this spiritual program that your client is engaged in?” the judge asked.
“Your honor, we don’t allege the amount of individuals,” Liggieri said.
“So, it’s a creed of one?” the judge asked.
“Yes, your honor,” Liggieri replied.
The judge decided to take a short break after arguing with Liggieri for over an hour and returned to his seat with the verdict. “Plaintiff does not state any faith-based principle to which the hat relates,” Cohen said, abruptly ending the case.
While Piatek had sued for emotional damages, the judge opined that the incident amounted to nothing more than a "petty" slight.
“Here the claim that plaintiff was not served and eventually escorted out of the bar because of his perceived support for President Trump is not outrageous conduct,” the judge ruled.
Piatek's lawyer said that he will, in the meanwhile, review Cohen's decision to decide whether or not to appeal again.
Having said that, the bar denied that Piatek had been removed at all in the first place. They said that Piatek “was sufficiently pleased with his service at the bar [and] that he added” a $36 tip onto the $186 bill. The bar owners suggest Piatek’s lawsuit was a “publicity stunt", according to the New York Post.