Dress code

Iconic NYC bar slapped with a lawsuit for allegedly kicking out a man dressed in women’s clothing

The iconic King Cole Bar at the St. Regis New York is fighting a lawsuit filed by a man who claims he was discriminated against for wearing women’s clothing by a manager at the establishment.

Plaintiff Andy Simon describes himself as “an openly gay black man of West Indian descent.” In his lawsuit, he says he arrived at the King Cole Bar one evening last September looking fabulous in a flowy black Givenchy shirt, Alexander McQueen shoes, and a Rick Owens scarf. He was also carrying a lady’s clutch purse and his face was painted with cosmetics, including foundation and mascara.

Related: Bartender at swanky NYC restaurant sues after being written up for looking like a ‘fa*got’

After sitting down and ordering a drink, Simon claims the bar manager approached and demanded that he immediately leave without giving any explanation as to why.

The lawsuit states: “When Simon expressed confusion as to why he was being asked to leave the bar manager had members of the security staff and the secret service approach Simon and escort him out of the building, humiliating Simon in the process.”

“Their thinking was that Mr. Simon was removed from the hotel because he was not appropriately dressed,” his lawyer, D. Christopher Mason, tells Law360. “The St. Regis had a sign saying ‘appropriate attire required,’ but they had no written dress code. They were the sole judge as to what would be considered appropriate attire.”

When Simon returned about thirty minutes later wearing a men’s tuxedo, he says was not bothered again by the manager or the bar staff.

Related: New York Bartender Claims He Discovered Antigay Note Signed “Trump Nation” On His Windshield

The next day, he emailed another bar manager. The manager invited him in for a meeting where they reviewed surveillance footage from the previous evening. The footage showed Simon being asked to leave and then escorted out by security.

Afterward the meeting, the bar manager apologized in writing and offered Simon a free drink and free lunch to make amends.

Simon initially filed a complaint with the New York State Division of Human Rights back in January. It was dismissed in July for having no probable cause to prove discrimination. This week, Simon filed a petition to have the division’s determination reconsidered. He is also seeking an award of attorneys’ costs and fees.

The St. Regis Hotel has not issued a comment on the matter. A representative for the Division of Human Rights also declined to comment, saying that the division does not talk about pending cases.

Related: Bar Removes Homophobic Sign After Customers Destroy It On Facebook

h/t: Law360

Get Queerty Daily

Subscribe to Queerty for a daily dose of #life #bar #discrimination stories and more

13 Comments

  • Heywood Jablowme

    If he wasn’t wearing white after Labor Day, I can’t imagine what the problem was!

  • jkthsnk

    Shirt or skirt? Was he uncovered on the bottom? Why was the secret service there?

    • Imperialist

      That’s what I was thinking, the clothing description makes it sound like he was nude from the waist down to his shoes. And, why WAS the secret service there???

    • Heywood Jablowme

      Since “secret service” is in lower case, it may simply refer to non-uniformed (i.e. “secret”) security employees of the hotel. However, Trump Tower happens to be only a block away so possibly the U.S. Secret Service were there. Don’t know why they would get involved though.

    • Sam6969

      Maybe one could see the Trump swinging down the stairs? That would explain a lot.

  • Danny595

    Normal gay and lesbian people have no interest in seeing transvestitism when they go out for a drink.

    • Bryguyf69

      1. What are “normal” gay and lesbian people?

      2. Why do you presume to speak for “normal” gay and lesbian people and what their interests are?

      3. Where do you get your data on what “normal” gay and lesbian people like?

      4. How is your comment even relevant since the King Cole Bar is neither a gay nor lesbian establishment????

      THINK about it.

    • amigay

      1. What are “normal” gay and lesbian people?
      People like me

      2. Why do you presume to speak for “normal” gay and lesbian people and what their interests are?
      Because I’m me and I’m right

      3. Where do you get your data on what “normal” gay and lesbian people like?
      Don’t need data to understand what “appropriate attire required” means

      4. How is your comment even relevant since the King Cole Bar is neither a gay nor lesbian establishment????
      Good taste and common sense are ALWAYS relevant

  • Luna1979

    It sounds like he was half naked in drag. Last I checked, restaurants can ask you to leave for any reason. Best not provoke certain establishments with too much fabulousness.

    • Jaxton

      No they can’t. Restaurants have to abide by the laws against discrimination.

  • Jaxton

    New York can be so lovely and tolerant, can’t it?

    Seriously, it’s one of the most bigoted towns in America. Liberal bigots are the worst.

  • bridge2nowhere

    Maybe they thought he was a prostitute

Add your Comment

Please log in to add your comment
Need an account? Register *It's free and easy.