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Bars Can Boot Trump Supporters for Wearing MAGA Hats, Judge Rules

Greg Piatek tried to argue he was discriminated against based on his "closely held spiritual beliefs" for President Trump.
April 26, 2018, 5:54pm
Photo via Getty by James D. Morgan / Contributor.

It looks like Kanye West may have to be careful about which New York bars he frequents.

Last year, a tourist accused a New York City bar of cutting him off and kicking him out just because he was wearing a MAGA hat. And on Wednesday, a Manhattan Supreme Court ruled the bar had every right to do so, shooting down the plaintiff's claims that he was honoring his "spiritual beliefs." according to the New York Post.

Last October, MAGA wearer Greg Piatek sued the Happiest Hour for discrimination after staff allegedly ordered him and his friends to leave the West Village bar. The 31-year-old claimed an employee told him, "Anyone who supports Trump—or believes what you believe—is not welcome here!"

Piatek’s legal team tried to argue that its client was kicked out because he was "adhering to his closely held spiritual beliefs by adorning the hat in question," according to the lawsuit.

"The Make American Great Again hat was part of his spiritual belief,” Piatek’s attorney, Paul Liggieri, claimed in court. "Rather than remove his hat, instead he held true to his spiritual belief and was forced from the bar."

The Happiest Hour’s lawyer, Elizabeth Conway, argued that "supporting Trump is not a religion" and could not, therefore, by covered by local or state discrimination laws. Justice David Cohen agreed, saying the Piatek's team failed to establish "any faith-based principle to which the hat relates." He also decided the bar employees' move to escort Piatek out the door was "not outrageous conduct," and the lawsuit was dismissed.

For its part, the bar says it "firmly support women's rights, marriage equality, gun control, the environment, and regard for the truth," and doesn't discriminate.

"What's gotten lost in this story is that the guest wasn't kicked out because he was wearing a Trump hat," Happiest Hour's owner, Jon Neidich, said in a statement. "He was asked to leave after being verbally abusive to our staff, which is something we don't tolerate regardless of who you are."

Although Piatek’s team attempted to frame the case as an unfair refusal of service, the Happiest Hour previously cited the $186 bar tab he had racked up with his friends before allegedly getting kicked out. The seven cocktails, two shots of vodka, and eight beer orders on the receipt suggest he and his buddies had quite a bit to drink. Before he left, he even gave the bar a $36 tip for the service.

Update 4/26 5PM: This post has been updated to include a statement from The Happiest Hour.

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