Meatpacking District booze-fueled brunch destination Bagatelle is in hot water again with a new discrimination lawsuit. DNAinfo reports that a bartender claims a manager at the restaurant reprimanded him for looking like “a gay porn star” and “like a f——t,” according to a lawsuit. Bartender Terrance McCleveland is now asking for more than $1 million in damages from the restaurant for “continued abuse and humiliation.” The suit comes shortly after two other servers sued the restaurant for a history of discrimination.
According to the lawsuit, the manager allegedly yelled at McCleveland in December 2015 in front of other employees, reprimanding him for wearing a “Barbie T-Shirt” and using homophobic slurs. The manager then posted an incident report in the staff break room that noted dressing “like a gay porn star” was a violation in code of conduct. McCleveland claims that other staff harassed him after seeing the report.
The restaurant is a celebrity hotspot that’s known for its party brunches. Last week, it was in the news for a separate lawsuit that claimed they sat diners based on their appearance, including sending black diners to a table in the back that staff called “Ghetto Station.” The two servers who filed that lawsuit also claimed that management harassed both non-French and gay employees. Bagatelle responded, “while we don’t comment on pending litigation, we intend to defend ourselves and look forward to clearing our name in this matter.”
Update: Here’s a longer statement from a Bagatelle spokesperson:
We take any allegation that suggests we discriminate against our employees or our patrons very seriously and we want to assure everyone that we do not allow or condone discrimination of any kind. The staff and guests at our restaurant in the Meatpacking District reflect the melting pot that this neighborhood and New York City are known for. We don’t seat patrons based on race and our restaurant was specifically designed with an open layout with no “bad” tables in the house. We take pride in the fine service provided by our outstanding staff and for creating a destination that has remained a mainstay of the neighborhood for almost a decade. While we don’t comment on pending litigation, we intend to defend ourselves vigorously against these claims.