Two gay men have submitted an official
complaint against McDonald's after the pair and three friends were
verbally abused with anti-gay slurs at a downtown Louisville,
Ryan Marlatt and Teddy Eggers are
taking action against the burger chain after their calls for a remedy
In a complaint to the Louisville Human
Relations Commission, the pair allege that a McDonald's employee
working behind the counter called them “faggots,” “cocksuckers”
and “bitch” during an lunchtime altercation on July 26th.
The two men say they requested to speak
to a manager after they overheard one employee calling them “faggots”
to another. While waiting to make their complaint, the employee
approached the two men and their three friends. An argument ensued,
where the employee repeatedly called them “faggots” and one of
them “cocksucker” and “bitch” in front of other customers.
The on-duty manager said she did not
see any problem and refused to refund $28 – claiming only the
unavailable general manager was at liberty to do so.
“It may just be a few dollars for a
Big Mac and some fries, but if I'm going to spend my hard earned
money anywhere I should be able to do so without being verbally
abused,” said Marlatt.
Marlatt says staff at the Louisville
restaurant repeatedly ignored his telephone calls to reach the
general manager; they simply hung up on him. A corporate complaint
was also ignored.
“It shouldn't be considered a tall
order to expect businesses to treat customers with basic human
dignity,” said Christine Sun, a senior staff attorney with the ACLU
Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Project who is representing the men.
Marlatt and Eggers say that the cashier
waiting on them was the only person who was equally outraged by the
incident. “She was trying to get the woman who was calling us
names to stop,” said Eggers. “She was at least trying to do the
right thing when nobody else would.”
The incident underscores the marked
differences often found between official discrimination policies and
the darker reality on the ground. McDonald's is considered a gay and
lesbian friendly business on paper. So friendly, in fact, that a
Christian fundamentalist group, the American Family Association, is
currently boycotting the franchise for supporting the “gay agenda.”