A gay man from Montreal claims he is the victim of homophobia after he and his friends were kicked out of a restaurant for sexually harassing, er, “complimenting” their busboy.
The incident happened last Saturday night at a restaurant in Old Montreal called Pastel.
Ghislain Corriveau and three of his friends came in shortly before closing and reportedly began making sexually suggestive comments to their busboy, including inviting him to come over and sit on their laps.
When the busboy told the co-owner Kabir Kapoor that he was uncomfortable with the things they were saying to him, Kapoor asked the men to leave.
“I said we’re giving you the bill [for the wine]…we have a zero tolerance policy for any kind of sexual abuse or harassment,” Kapoor tells Eater.
“I [told them] I’m in a very tough position and I have to ensure security is paramount and if he doesn’t feel secure as my employee, I have no option.”
Two of the four men apologized for their behavior. But Corriveau, witnesses say, became irate. He says the attention he and his friends were giving the busboy, which lasted more than 15 minutes, was harmless and never intended to make him feel unsafe.
“It was just a compliment,” he says. “We never touched him.”
He continues, “They treated us like sexual predators. If it’s sexual harassment, you need to call the police.”
The next day, Corriveau took to social media to accuse the Kapoor and the busboy of being homophobic.
“My friend said gently to the server that he was a handsome man,” Corriveau lamented. “It’s the first time I felt like a victim of homophobia in Montreal. A total insult.”
Speaking to Eater, he elaborates: “If the [busboy] takes it as sexual harassment, it’s because he doesn’t like gay guys. He didn’t like the fact he had a compliment from another guy.”
Or perhaps he just didn’t like having four strangers ask him to sit in their laps while he was simply trying to do his job?
Corriveau goes on to tell Eater that he thinks the restaurant is trying to destroy his reputation, even though he’s the one who originally went on social media to make a stink about it.
“I have a perfect reputation,” he says. “I don’t deserve it and my friends don’t deserve it.”
Corriveau adds that he is considering going to the police.
Oddly, shortly after he and his friends were kicked out of the restaurant, Corriveau posted a video of himself outside of the eatery expressing his outrage over being ejected but making no mention of homophobia or antigay animus.
That video has since been deleted from his Facebook page.
Meanwhile, the restaurant has been bombarded with one-star reviews online, accusing it of homophobia. In a statement posted to its Facebook page over the weekend, the restaurant said:
It is unequivocally wrong to verbally assault a server.
There are no excuses. Never mistake our hospitality for permission of unsolicited sexual advances. Sexual harassment and discriminatory behaviour is, and will forever be tolerance zero at Pastel, regardless of identity or orientation. Please let us do our job without feeling humiliated. Please be appropriate. This shouldn’t need to be said, but sadly, some people need to be reminded. Just because you are a client does not make it right. Let’s try to be a little more respectful of each other so that we can all feel joy and peace. #humanrights
Kapoor claims he has also been receiving nasty messages from people on Facebook after Corriveau published a screenshot of his personal page online.
“It’s so terrible that people use [homophobia] as an out because it’s disrespectful to the gay community and to human rights in general,” Kapoor says. “Why are you using it as a means to your end of you getting kicked out of a restaurant?”