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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.”
Her original post was set to friends-only, but others are sharing her statement publicly, and she seems to be okay with it, so: pic.twitter.com/BCUzY7ad46— April Wolfe (@AWolfeful) June 12, 2019
“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.
A single kiss isn't "making out" and I know that you would not kick out a straight couple for a single kiss. You need to understand that gay people have been dealing with this discrimination for our entire lives. If you do care, think before you act next time.— Jered (@starkravingblah) June 13, 2019
lgbtq people and all people, avoid @LangersDeli because on Sunday they FULLLY kicked a couple out for being gay! love that this shit is still happening— Reed Brice (@thatdangdingus) June 12, 2019
fuck your $20 shitty sandwiches #boycottlangers pic.twitter.com/nm2eaRxDKM
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.”
When I was working at the LA Times more than 10 years ago, a colleague was doing a story on the place. The owner was terrible to her, openly making sexist and racist remarks during the interview(!) I've still never gone there because of it. https://t.co/rrS6RXl1BC— Scott T. Sterling (@ststerling) June 12, 2019
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 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.