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Man Kicked out of Bar for Wearing ‘Make America Great Again’ Hat

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Imagine a world where you can get kicked out of a restaurant simply for wearing something the manager doesn’t agree with.  This world became a reality when a New York judge ruled that bars can legally kick people out for wearing Make America Great Again (MAGA) hats.  

In January 2017, Philadelphian Greg Piatek and his friends decided to grab a drink at a West Village bar in New York after visiting the 9/11 memorial earlier that day.  Piatek claims he was unfairly kicked out of the bar for wearing a MAGA hat.

According to Piatek, 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!” Piatek decided to sue the bar for unspecified damages on the grounds that the incident “offended his sense of being American.”

Piatek said he was not wearing the hat in support of President Trump, but as a symbol of his deep patriotism and as a contribution to his “overall personal and spiritual expression.”  His lawyer used this as the basis of his case for religious discrimination. Not surprisingly, the judge didn’t buy it.

In Piatek’s account of that night, he was ignored service at the bar, and when he refused to take off the hat, he and his friends were booted, feeling “extremely humiliated, degraded, victimized, embarrassed, and emotionally distressed.”

However, owner Jon Neidich disputed these claims.  He firmly believes that his staff did not discriminate against anyone – politically or religiously – and reported that Piatek was asked to leave only after being verbally abusive to the staff, regardless of the what the customer wore.  

Neidich also provided evidence that Piatek spent nearly $200 before leaving a 20% tip.  However, these facts might be misleading. Piatek says that although he was kicked out, his friends stayed and drank on his tab.  His friends had his card, but he was personally refused service. It should be noted that this was different than his initial account of that night.

The judge, New York State Supreme Court Justice David B. Cohen, ruled that Neidich’s actions did not violate any laws.  He believes the situation was nothing more than a “petty slight.”

The main dispute seems to lie in figuring out the real reason why Neidich kicked him out of the bar.  It is unclear if the motive was Piatek’s hat or Piatek’s treatment of the staff. Piatek’s lawyer plans to review the decision to determine whether or not to appeal.

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