LGBTQ+ actor Drew Droege experienced homophobia while dining at a Mexican restaurant in the heart of Los Angeles.
Droege–an actor, comedian, writer and director who is famous for his online impersonation of actress Chloë Sevigny–said he was told by the manager he wasn't allowed to kiss his date inside the establishment.
He wrote about the disturbing encounter in an Instagram post and called out El Compadre, a popular Mexican restaurant located in the neighborhood of Echo Park, just west of downtown LA.
"Last night, I went on a really nice date. With a really sad, disgusting, hateful moment in the middle."
Things went fairly well in the beginning.
"The food and our server were both great. We paid and had a bit of time before catching a show downtown."
"Finishing up our second drinks, we had our arms around each other and kissed a few times."
However, their PDA attracted the attention of the manager who approached the couple and told them:
“you guys can’t do that here.”
Droege was "confused at first" as straight couples around them were also openly affectionate.
The manager clarified why just the gay couple was discouraged from displaying affection:
“This is a family restaurant.”
"I asked if anyone had complained to him, as we looked around and only saw happy straight couples eating, laughing, doing the same thing we were doing."
"He threw his hands in front of us and said, 'I don’t care if you’re the President of the United States, we don’t allow your behavior here.' "
"We promptly got up and left."
The homophobic interaction came as a shock considering LA is one of the most diverse cities with marginalized groups relatively co-existing better than in other parts of America.
"We were genuinely shocked."
"In Echo Park, CA. At 6:30pm on a Monday."
Droege declared he will never return to patronize El Compadre and encouraged followers and allies to do the same.
Droege's bafflement led him to ask the questions:
"Ever wonder why gay people often seem nervous? Why do we walk faster?"
"Why do we work so hard to please others and be good little citizens in this world?"
He concluded the post by sharing they demonstrated their objection to being publicly shamed.
"After this happened to us, we went outside and made out in their parking lot."
The actor's friends lauded their protest.
In response to the incident, El Compadre issued a statement expressing its solidarity with the LGBTQ+ community, which was a stark contrast to what Droege and his date experienced as paying customers.
El Compadre wrote in an Instagram post they "stand with the LGBTQ+ community."
The post obtained by Out Magazine also stated the restaurant holds:
"no space for intolerance, hate, or unjust treatment of our beloved guests regardless of race, ethnicity, age, gender, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, disability, or status."
"We have read all of your comments and concerns and we are looking into what happened Monday night at our Echo Park location."
"While we work to learn more, we want to make it clear we stand with the LGBTQ+ community and hold no space for intolerance, hate, or unjust treatment of our beloved guests regardless of race, ethnicity, age, gender, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, disability, or status."
"We were built off of the core value to do everything with love, and we will do what it takes to continue to warmly welcome any and every quest into a safe community."
"Please give us time to seek out what happened, gather more information, and take appropriate action. We will update you soon."
"We love you and thank you for your patience while we work through correcting this."
On Thursday morning, Droege shared a screenshot of a new post from El Compadre restaurants.
The restaurant apologized and shared that the manager was fired.
They reaffirmed their commitment to making sure all customers feel welcome and safe.