An East Texas couple says they were on their way out of a restaurant on Tuesday when a waitress told them not to come back because “We don’t serve fags here.”
"Big" Earl Cheney, the owner of Big Earl’s Restaurant in Pittsburg, Texas, says the waitress, who is his daughter, did not say "We don't serve fags." He claims she said "We don't like fags." He then defended the policy, stating they have a right to refuse service to anyone who does not act according to their gender.
The couple, Collin Dewberry and Kelly Williams, told KLTV they enjoyed their breakfast at Big Earl’s, but on the way out a waitress told them they could never come back.
The waitress recited a restaurant policy: “Here at Big Earl’s we like for men to act like men and for ladies to act like ladies, so we want you to never return,” she said. “We don’t serve fags here.”
“It was just so nonchalantly, almost like she was reading a piece of paper,” Dewberry said.
The couple said they have lived in East Texas all of their lives.
“We’ve never had that kind of hate displayed to us before,” Dewberry said. “I laughed. I was shocked. I didn’t know really how to react.”
Cheney defended his daughter's use of the derogatory slang, claiming the men badgered her.
“She’s a young lady, didn’t know what else to say, and they just kept on and she finally said we just don’t like fags," he said. “She didn’t know what else to say. She was frustrated and flustered, you know, and they were going out just laughing and carrying on.”
He told KLTV that the couple was banned for life because they touched legs in the restaurant, not because they are gay.
“I didn’t go over there to inspect to see what he was rubbing. That’s just not appropriate in a family restaurant that has a sign on the front door that we just don’t do that here,” Cheney said.
He claims the incident was caught on surveillance video but refused to let KLTV review the tape.
He said anyone is welcome at his restaurant as long as they act according to their birth gender.
“You’re welcome to come and eat, but a man act like a man and a woman act like a woman,” he said. “Dress appropriately and act appropriately when you’re in a public place.”
KLTV asked what a man or woman should act like.
“The same thing it says. That a man’s supposed to stand up and be a leader. He’s not supposed to be a woman. He’s not supposed to come in here in a dress,” Cheney responded.
Many of the reviews of Big Earl’s on their Facebook page disgree.