Two gay men have accused a Manhattan seafood restaurant of violently removing them from the establishment in an assault that was so brutal that they were left with bruises, reports Eater New York.
The men, Leo Porto and Felipe Rocha, alleged that this past September 8 they were dancing and kissing at Catch NYC in the Meatpacking District when a bouncer walked over and told them to stop or get out. When they kissed again, another bouncer physically separated them before a third bouncer grabbed them by the neck and forced them off the dance floor.
“Before you know it, we’re being dragged out by the neck, both of us, in front of a huge crowd of maybe 100 people, and we’re screaming for help,” Porto said, according to Eater.
The two men were then brought into an elevator, where five security guards were aggressive and continued to hold them by their necks, the men said.
The pair filed a complaint with the law enforcement bureau of the city’s Commission on Human Rights, according to Eater. The commission, which is responsible for upholding the city’s human rights law, declined to comment on the case.
An NYPD spokesperson confirmed to Gay City News that a harassment complaint is on file alleging that a bouncer at Catch NYC pushed a 25-year-old male, but no injuries were reported.
These allegations face a restaurant, located at 21 Ninth Avenue at West 13th Street, that often displays a rainbow flag in front of the building. Yet the establishment has been hit with a variety of allegations of homophobia and racism in online reviews.
A man named Desmond H. said in a Yelp review that gay people should not spend their money at Catch NYC, a “place that disrespects you and has no problem putting their hands on you JUST because you’re GAY. I came here and the security guards roughed up my friends and now they have bruises all over their bodies.”
Another reviewer on Yelp, Nova L., said in June of 2018 that a bouncer with tattoos all over his body “is a racist and discriminatory ass” who refused to grant Nova entry onto the rooftop of the restaurant but “proceeded to let others... who were all white women.”
Sidney W. said in a 2017 review that a bouncer “allowed two caucasian women in but didn’t allow my African-American friend in under the same circumstances.”
Catch NYC did not immediately respond to requests for comment on the incident. Porto and Rocha could not be reached.