Man says bartender refused to serve him because of his 'Make America Great Again' hat
A man is suing a New York City bar for refusing to serve him because he was wearing a "Make America Great Again" hat.
Greg Piatek, 30, an accountant from Philadelphia, says multiple bartenders and servers at The Happiest Hour denied him drinks on Jan. 28 because of his conservative fashion statement, according to the New York Post.
The signature red hat is often worn by supporters of Donald Trump -- and even the president himself.
Piatek says the incident caused him to suffer from "anxiety and severe emotional distress," and he is suing the bar and its owner, John Neidich, for "egregious, unlawful, and discriminatory conduct."
According to Piatek's lawsuit, he visited the bar with a few friends after spending a day visiting the 9/11 Memorial Museum. The lawsuit states that the group ruminated on "the memory of victims and fallen heroes of the September 11th, 2001 attacks."
Though Piatek and his friends were initially served drinks, he claims they were ignored when they tried to order a second round, saying they received only a lengthy death stare" from one of the servers.
Piatek claims that customers around him were served multiple times as he waited, and when he finally spoke up about it, the bartender allegedly replied "is that hat a joke?"
The angry customer claimed that multiple staff members reproached him for the hat and refused to serve his group.
"I can't believe you would support someone so terrible and you must be as terrible a person!" one bartender allegedly said, according to the lawsuit.
In his lawsuit against the bar, Piatek said he was shocked by the ordeal because of his "sincerely held set of beliefs in which he felt it was necessary to wear a particular hat in remembrance of the souls who lost their lives and as a symbol of freedom/free speech."
"Ignoring me because I'm wearing the hat is ridiculous," Piatek told the New York Post.
Attorney Paul Liggieri, who is representing Piatek in New York Supreme Court, told the newspaper that being kicked out of the bar for his hat was Piatek's "saddest hour."
After being escorted from the bar, Piatek called the police, who he said were "sympathetic, accepting, and understanding...as one would expect from any New Yorker who respects others even if they are different," according to court papers.
Officers reportedly told the man the incident was not a criminal matter, and recommended contacting the Better Business Bureau.
"In my opinion, the motto of The Happiest Hour seems to be: we will accept you, so long as you think exactly like us," Liggieri told The Heavy. "The values displayed by the employees of The Happiest Hour are not the values of our nation ... It seems to me that The Happiest Hour, however, values hypocrisy."
Piatek is suing under New York's laws barring Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress, and is seeking unspecified punitive damages, according to Gothamist.