A man who claims he was tossed from a Manhattan bar for wearing a “Make America Great Again Hat” is arguing the watering hole violated his “spiritual beliefs”.
Greg Piatek has sued The Happiest Hour bar for allegedly refusing him service because he was sporting one of the red hats that became an emblem of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign. The bar has disputed that account in court filings and media interviews, saying Mr Piatek paid a tab covering several drinks and tipped well.
But wearing the hat wasn’t just a political statement – it was a manifestation of religious belief that makes Mr Piatek a discriminated-against member of a protected class, according to a new court filing from Mr Piatek’s lawyer first reported by the New York Daily News.
Mr Piatek donned the hat “as a spiritual matter” after having visited the site where the former World Trade Center fell on 9/11, according to the court filing, and Mr Piatek “was adhering to his closely held spiritual beliefs by adorning the hat in question”.
He “did not wear the hat to espouse support for a political candidate or point of view but because he believes “the hat is representative of a set of closely held spiritual aspirations and convictions that entirely transcend the political realm”, the filing argues.
In an emailed statement, an attorney for The Happiest Hour rejected Mr Piatek’s latest claims.
“The plaintiff’s vague and conclusory arguments are entirely fanciful,” attorney S Preston Ricardo said. “They have no support in the law. And they continue to show that the action is nothing more than an ill-conceived publicity stunt guised as a lawsuit”.