A man wearing a Louisiana State University (LSU) hat was reportedly denied service at a Florida restaurant by a manager who claimed LSU “does not carry a good name” at the establishment.
Don Bass made reservations at Harry T’s Lighthouse in Destin, Florida, on Oct. 17 to celebrate a wedding. When he arrived at the door wearing his LSU hat, he was turned away, WDSU reported. He took to Facebook to detail his experience.
“It was at this point that the greeter of Harry T, stated LSU fans were not welcomed here. I was surprised by this statement, and explained that I was looking for guest's of the wedding. I again was told we are not welcome, I proceeded to the rear of the restaurant and observed numerous tables vacant. But more so observed countless numbers of Gator fans at decorated tables. This did not offend me or cause me to lose my appetite.
"I then was again told by the greeter who additionally made a point to tell my wife that our party was not welcome. I realized it was the LSU hat I was wearing so proudly. We then left this establishment and all met at margaritaville for dinner. This is by all means one of the craziest things I have ever encountered as for as out right discrimination. They should be ashamed of themselves, I am sure there are many LSU fans that spend a lot of money in Destin. Please read this response to see what they think of us in Harry T's Maybe the rest of the business's feel the same?”
Bass attached a photo of an email response he got from the restaurant's manager, Nick Empson. In the email, Empson explains that Florida alumni host watch parties at the restaurant and ask that no fans of the opposing team be seated. He added that LSU fans have a reputation of physically attacking staff members.
The Facebook post was shared more than 5,000 times and the restaurant issued an apology. They called Empson an “overzealous manager,” and said that he no longer holds that position at Harry T’s.
“Nick responded to one guest who was apparently treated poorly at the door Saturday night,” the restaurant posted. “This was, and is no, part of his responsibilities within the restaurant. He was an overzealous new manager, he has been since reprimanded and is no longer a manager at Harry T's.
“The part of his letter about trepidation over LSU fans was completely false. In fact, the owner's wife is from Louisiana and is herself an LSU fan.”
Harry T’s also created an event for Oct. 24 to make things right with LSU fans.
The restaurant posted:
“Flag on the play! Unsportsman like conduct towards our LSU Football fans last Saturday. We regret the situation that occurred and want to invite all of our passionate SEC fans to cheer on their teams! This Saturday we will host a GEAUX Game Day Football Party. 50% of all proceeds will go towards an LSU scholarship fund and $2,000 is being donating by Harry T's. Everyone sporting their purple and gold gear will receive a free drink on us!”