Was it a case of discrimination or disruptive customers? That’s the question at the heart of an incident Sunday night at Main Event bowling alley in Plano, Texas, where a gay couple claims they were discriminated against.
It started when boyfriends Alberto Lesmes and Chad Hemp’s asked for a new lane because of a technical malfunction. Staff at the alley complied, but when a child from a nearby group started acting up, the men asked for another swap. According to the couple, the manager they spoke with asked if they were professional bowlers and when they said they weren’t, told them Main Event was a “family environment. Lesmes says the manager told him, “My resolution is to refund your game and let you leave.”
Lesmes and Hemp left upset, but say they just want an apology: “Our goal is to hopefully bring awareness to all communities that there should be zero tolerance for any kind of prejudice based on same-sex relationships, multi-racial or otherwise,” Lesmes told the Voice. “To be told we are ‘not family’ is inexcusable.”
But Main Event’s Charlie Keegan told the Huffington Post there was no effort to discriminate against the guys. “No one at the company was aware of their sexual orientation,” said Keegan. “The couple wanted privacy and asked several times to relocate, and we did our best to relocate them but they were frustrated and unhappy.” Keegan says Lesmes and Hemp wanted a place to bowl “where there weren’t any children,”—which is why the manager claimed it was a family environment.
A spokesperson for the venue cited the company’s nondiscrimination policy, which says Main Event “embrace all cultures and pride ourselves on providing an exceptional EAT.BOWL.PLAY experience to all of our guests no matter what their age, race, color, religion, sex, sexual preference or national origin.”