Famous Los Angeles deli kicks out queer couple for kissing

A famous Los Angeles sandwich shop, Langer’s Deli, is facing calls for a boycott after the owner kicked out two women for kissing in his restaurant.

The woman and her date who experienced aggressive discrimination at Langer’s Deli have chosen to remain anonymous but gave friends permission to share their story. One friend, writer and critic April Wolfe, took to Twitter to share what happened to her friends, posting a screenshot of the Facebook post that details how they were kicked out.

“My date and I had finished eating and we shared a kiss in our booth. Suddenly a man with a walkie-talkie was standing at our table. He introduced himself as Norm Langer and told us that he ‘can’t have this in his restaurant because some of the customers don’t understand.’” When the woman told him that she lived nearby and used to love this deli but would never eat there again, Langer told her she was being “selfish and inconsiderate of how other people felt.”

“I was in shock,” the woman wrote. “I just want to raise awareness that this space is unsafe for LGBTQ+ people in an effort to prevent future harm to others.” She ended her post with the hashtag #BoycottLangers.

Langer’s Deli responded to the backlash on Twitter on Thursday, saying it “treats all customers equally.” However, a particular part of the statement stood out to many: “We have a long-standing policy against anyone from ‘making out’ whether straight or same-sex couples, it does not matter.  I have stopped heterosexual couples from making out, and I would do the same if Prince Harry and Meghan Markle were making out.”

There are plenty of homophobes in the world who, for example, think calling a gay wedding in a cartoon inappropriate. So it’s not hard to see how a single kiss is construed as “making out” by a homophobic viewer. Homophobia sees queerness as inherently sexual, making all queer public displays of affection, no matter how innocuous, sexually deviant and “inconsiderate.” People on Twitter were not having any of Langer’s excuses.

It also appears that Langer may have a history of treating minorities poorly. Another writer chimed in, saying when a colleague at the Los Angeles Times tried to interview the owner 10 years ago, he “was terrible to her, openly making sexist and racist remarks during the interview(!) I’ve still never gone there because of it.”

For now, at least, Langer’s Deli is sticking to the explanation that it’s a family restaurant, so the owner’s actions were justified. We’ll see how that works out for business.

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Alex Dalbey

Alex Dalbey

Alex Dalbey is a writer and zinester currently living in Saint Paul, Minnesota. They have written for The Daily Dot, Kill Screen, The Lingerie Addict, and Bullet Points.