Sizzler Pays NYC Lesbian $25,000 After Anti-Gay Attack

Almost two years after Liza Friedlander was viciously attacked by staff and diners at a Sizzler in Queens, a New York judge has awarded her $25,000, citing the restaurant violated state law by allowing her to be discriminated against in a public accommodation.

In September 2010, Friedlander and her friends hit up the breakfast bar at the Sizzler in Forest Hills. While she was standing, restaurant manager Edgar Orellana shoved Friedlander in the chest hard enough to knock her down. Orellana proceeded to kick her, call her “a fucking dyke” and tell her to get out.

Soon enough, other patrons joined in—shouting homophobic slurs and throwing objects at her. One man called her a “he-she freak,” another threatened to show her “what a dick is.” Friedlander’s friends called 911 and the victim was eventually taken to the hospital.

“I was attacked and threatened by people yelling terrible anti-LGBT slurs, throwing things at me and threatening to sexually assault me,” says Friedlander, represented in her case by Lambda Legal. “On that day, I felt helpless, humiliated and frightened, but today I’m so proud that I stood up and did something about it. No one should have to go through a nightmare like that.”

Natalie Chin, Staff Attorney for Lambda Legal, says the verdict sends a message that bias attacks against  will not be tolerated: “Businesses are not exempt from treating LGBT people with dignity and respect.”

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  • Jose Rodriguez

    She got short changed. That is not enough for what she went through. They can never erase that memory.

  • Jay Squires

    My god! What a terrible attack1. What drives people to such hatred? In the face of this it’s tough
    to remain optimistic for humanity’s future.

  • Stephen

    How about someone shove the attackers into a river of lava and we call it a day.

  • DouggSeven

    It’s too bad ABC didn’t catch that on ‘What Would You Do?’. Their patrons seem to be a lot nicer.

  • Jake

    @Jose Rodriguez: Boy, you said it!
    That amount is EXTREMELY low for what she had to go through. I’m glad she did receive a judgement but it should have been many times that piddly amount.

  • Shadeaux

    What kind of crap is that? He just walked up to her and shoved her!?! He is very lucky, because if it were some of the lesbian’s I know, if they were out numbered, they would have come back with friends and wore his azz out. He picked the right one.

  • tookietookie

    The real crime here is that a gay person was eating at Sizzler.

  • Richard Ford

    In keeping with the token nature of damages paid to Friedlander, restaurant manager Edgar Orellana will probably be required to attend a one-time sensitivity training session and then, back to work as usual.

  • Marc

    25K? Thats it? She got screwed!

  • LaTeesha

    I would need a lot more money to ever eat that stuff Sizzler calls food. Nasty.

  • Ms.Peachez

    @Shadeaux: You are sooooo on the money. They know the ones to try and the ones to leave the fuck alone. I got some lesbian friends who would have had that sizzler sizzling..

  • Clockwork

    Lambda choked on this one! She needed a better lawyer!

    Anyone who is attacked by employees at a place of businesses should receive much more than $25,000. She shouldn’t of even need to file a bias complaint to collect big time.

  • D P

    Well, that was the civil suit. What about criminal charges? Did that ever come up?

    Personally, I like @Stephen: ‘s response. I’d be glad to assist.

  • erasure25

    Needs to be 25k per person including the bigot customers. If there was indoor video, they need to ID customers and sue each one. I can’t believe criminal charges were not filed.

  • w.e.

    25K is nothing, an insult. She should have owned that place if things really went down like she said.

  • Ralph DeMattia

    @Jay Squires: This “award” is laughable? I was waiting on a gay friend in a gay bar and another gay patron kept calling me a fatass hetero (my gay friend was the manager and was getting off work)but it never occured to me to sue the a****le! How much would YOU and your liberal friends have given ME???

  • Ralph DeMattia

    @w.e.: A big “IF” there, too! Gays NEVER lie, do they?

  • Ralph DeMattia

    @erasure25: What should be done with gay bigots? And don’t tell me there aren’t any!

  • Dempre

    It is wrong to hate on straights too, Ralph. The patron that harrassed you should have been 86’ed. And yes there are gay bigots too, I am a person of color and have been stereotyped as a thug by white gay males even though I have two degrees and am a salaried retail manager with a Fortune 500 company. We all need to just think about how we would like to be treated and give the same to others. Respect breeds respect.

  • Ken

    Did any of you fools with a one sided mentality ever stop to wonder what this gal may have done to bring this attack on? Hard for me to believe anyone would just randomly go up to anyone and start shoving them and calling them any names. There has to be a reason she only got $25K, why aren’t we hearing about that side of the story? I’m so sick of gays crying about everything. If that’s your life choice get over it, nobody cares unless you make a stink about it and if anyone of any sexual orientation makes a stink about their preference there’s bound to be trouble. Shut up and be gay if that’s your choice! How about looking at the big picture instead of only your little piece of the pie.

  • Dinodogstar

    Let me first clarify this, I mean no disrespect, and really the opposite of that, when I refer to other oppressed people and their resistance to it.
    Rightly so, if this had happened to a Person-Of-Color, because of their identifying status, this would be front page news, and the community that was targeted in that hate crime, would be assertively outspoken, angry and demanding justice. I just spent an hour reading about the recent attacks and murders of dozens of LGBT people, and it is very important to state that these crimes were only often revealed as anti-gay crimes, because those victims who had their sexuality or gender status trajically exposed. As a gay guy, I think our lesson through experience, has been that we should be quiet, pleasing, and tolerate our ‘tolerance’. We are told directly and indirectly, that we should just be thankful that it wasn’t ourselves who got attacked, that the climate of hate and violence are so expected and promoted, LGBT people need to just go along to get along,as we have learned too well in our youth, to be safely out-of-sight, silent and thankful, i wasn’t me. But it could have been, and it could aslo occur to even non-LGBT people, through faulty assumptions or happenstance.
    I got too overwhelmed by the hopelessness and helplessnes I felt, in reading all the instances of violence and murder, that were targeted towards LGBT people. I always have had to remind myself, ‘thank God I was more careful, less obviously gay, less unacceptable to the hostile world. Though in reality, the anti-gay menatality doesn’t care how gender appropriate I am, or how I conduct my carefully orchestrated visible public life. Regardless of any sitiuation, place or atmosphere, it really could have been me, and in many ways the hate crime was directed at me, as much as the actual victim present. I think that bc we LGBT people are so resigned and aware of the expected lack of concern, or even the lack of pursuing justice on our behalf, or maybe even out of just a deeply subconcious desire for self-preservation, we trudge on, not looking back at those who have fallen victim, through their own hands, or the by the hands of a hostile hateful environment, or both. I always have to remind myself, though it can all seem so hopeless, and helpless, that I CAN hope, and I can help. And I do need to use my voice, amy gifts, jmy life to not be a victim *willingly*. The mountain of stories of antigay crimes, show other LGBT people victimized by chance or purpose, and braver thank me, not as passive or tolerant of their assults. The guiding concept of “hate crimes” is that it could have been me or you, and in part, it was. And it isn’t acceptable, and we need to care and demonstrate that concern. if not out of the higher goal of empathy, than even just arising from a selfish fundemental desire for self-preservation. It can’t be acceptable. It shouldn’t be tolerated or dismissed, the vistim is not to blame and the justice doesn’t occur willingly or naturally.

  • Dinodogstar

    @Dinodogstar: sorry, brevity ain’t my strong suit..

  • D P

    @Dinodogstar: — Don’t worry about your brevity in this comment. Your post still carries a profound message and makes sense.

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