Peabody restaurant stands tall in forced "negotiations" with transgender / crossdresssing activists attempting to shut them down
Your pressure has made a difference!
POSTED: May 21, 2010
As we've been reporting, Capone's Italian-American Restaurant in Peabody, MA has been threatened with loss of their operating license and an expensive lawsuit because the doorman turned away men wearing women's clothes (including short skirts).
Robert Knowles, a transgender activist from Saugus who wears women's clothes in public and who goes by the name of "Ashley Amber Bottoms", began bringing a group of cross-dressing men in women's clothes (who call themselves the "Sisters Group") to Capone's. Their presence caused so much disruption and discomfort to the restaurant's patrons that when the group came on Jan. 29, staff met them at the door and refused to let them in.
The men of the "Sisters Family" have their own calling card. And they are serious about pushing their agenda.
The next day the transgender activists filed complaints with the City of Peabody, the District Attorney, various licensing boards, and other public officials, according to news reports. Several news outlets covered the story, which was obviously orchestrated as a PR campaign.
In March the Peabody city licensing board told the restaurant's owners that they must "negotiate" with the transgender activists over this, or face possible harsh action. After several false starts, the first "negotiation" session took place on Monday, May 3.
Owner of restaurant (center) followed by Robert Knowles, a.k.a. "Ashley Bottoms" and roomful of angry homosexual and transgender activists at Peabody License Board hearing on Feb. 22.
Many businesses would capitulate in a situation like this. But because of the enormous outpouring from angry citizens supporting the restaurant, they didn't back down.
Here's our exclusive report of what happened at the May 3 negotiation session from someone close to the situation (but not connected with the restaurant).
The Plaintiffs came to the negotiation meeting all dressed as women. However, the restaurant owner used their real names - referring to "Amber" as his real name "Robert," which seemed to make him very red-faced, apparently.
The "ladies" came to the meeting whining that they want to be allowed to come in there any time and be allowed to use the ladies' room. However, two things the restaurant has legal control over are the dress code and the restrooms. So the restaurant told them, "You are welcome to come back any time -- as long as you conform to the dress code and you use the men's room. They were upset about that. But the restaurant was adamant that there was to be no negotiation on that point. If they refuse to use the men's room they can't come in again. Capone's told them these are the terms PERIOD.
They left saying that they had to have private discussions about this and they would be in contact. They said that they would be back in touch with them to say whether they accepted the terms Capone's set for them or if they rejected them and wanted to take things to the next level -- maybe a lawsuit or whatever the next level would be. So Capone's has agreed to meet again if they hear back from the tyrannies [sic] to discuss the next step. It's been over a week and the restaurant hasn't heard a peep from these guys so they feel they wont be coming back any more to bother them.
The restaurant's position is that the law states a restaurant can dictate the dress code AND what takes place in their restrooms. The two things that the tyrannies are focused on have the effect of looking as trashy and scary and objectionable as possible and scaring women in the ladies' room. So since they can't fight those things and they would be warmly welcomed in any time if they follow the same rules as every other human being, the restaurant feels they can't really sue.
They don't have any formal negotiation meeting set. It's just agreed they would meet again if the tyrannies wanted to talk further -- which it seems they do not, thank goodness!
Personally, I was surprised they didn't ask for money to keep their mouths shut or not to protest or some foolishness.
To be honest, I think that they had no intention of going to Capone's on a regular basis. They just wanted to go out and make a big stink someplace and get newspaper coverage so that they can use that to fuel their push for the Transgender Bill. Now they have newspaper articles they can bring in to illustrate the prejudice they face and show the desperate "need" for this bill.
We believe that the restaurant is now (rightly) pretty confident that the city's licensing board and other city officials are now extremely reluctant to revoke their license over this, or impose sanctions of any kind.
As we said, the major factor in this is the enormous outpouring from citizens across the country directed at the Peabody city officials and in support of the restaurant. These politicians and bureaucrats probably got more calls, faxes, and emails than in the last several years put together. Our sense when we spoke with them is that they get the message and want this whole thing to just go away. And the restaurant also got lots of calls in support.
The idea of a business being forced to "negotiate" with a group of militant cross-dressers may seem bizarre today. But that -- or worse (mandates, with no possibility of negotiation) -- may become more common in the near future unless this movement is stopped.
That's why this is more important than many people realize. As we've been saying, if the current Transgender Rights and Hate Crimes Bill is passed, restaurants and other private enterprises will be subject to penalties and fines if they refuse to accept these abnormal public behaviors. An example of that is the clothing chain in New York forced to submit to the demands of transgender activists.
We will continue to keep you informed on this.