A Manhattan judge ruled Wednesday that there’s nothing “outrageous” about throwing the president’s supporters out of bars — because the law doesn’t protect against political discrimination.
Philadelphia accountant Greg Piatek, 31, was bounced from a West Village watering hole in January 2017, just after Trump took the oath of office, for wearing a “Make America Great Again” cap, according to his lawsuit over the incident.
“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!” Piatek claims the staff of the Happiest Hour on W. 10th St. told him after he and his pals complained about the rude service they were getting from a bartender.
So he sued in Manhattan Supreme Court claiming the incident “offended his sense of being American.”
But on Wednesday, when the bar’s lawyer, Elizabeth Conway, pointed out that only religious, and not political beliefs are protected under state and city discrimination laws, saying, “supporting Trump is not a religion” — Piatek pivoted.
“The purpose of the hat is that he wore it because he was visiting the 9/11 Memorial,” his attorney Paul Liggieri told Justice David Cohen in court Wednesday.
“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. Piatek and his pals had, in fact, visited the memorial before the bar.
“Rather than remove his hat, instead he held true to his spiritual belief and was forced from the bar,” Liggieri said.
When the judge asked how the bar employees were supposed to be aware of Piatek’s unusual religious beliefs, Liggieri answered, “They were aware he was wearing the hat.”
The judge pressed Liggieri on the idea of his client’s professed 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.
After nearly an hour of argument the judge took a short break and then returned to the bench with his ruling.
“Plaintiff does not state any faith-based principle to which the hat relates,” Judge Cohen said in tossing the case.
Piatek had sued for unspecified emotional damages, but the judge said 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.
Liggieri said he plans to review the decision to determine whether or not to appeal.
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