An NYC restaurant franchise owner is facing a lawsuit after he allegedly cancelled a gay couple’s wedding rehearsal, saying it would have been “bad for Feng Shui.”
Barrett Greene, 50, and Thomas Eng, 38, decided in March that they would hold their wedding rehearsal dinner at Asian fusion restaurant Amber Village, which used to be located at 432 Sixth Avenue in the heart of one of Manhattan’s most LGBT-friendly neighborhoods. They also decided they would have the eatery cater for their wedding.
Greene met with then-restaurant manager Tommy Ho and together they negotiated a rehearsal dinner for 40 people and reception food for 200 guests for the couple’s June nuptials, whereby Greene paid a $750 deposit.
However, according to reports, the couple alleges that one week later, a senior manager named Mr Fong summoned Ho and told him to cancel dealings with the gay couple, saying he “didn’t want any ‘gay parties’ at Amber Village” because they are “especially bad for feng shui.”
Feng Shui is the popular Chinese system of geomancy used to orient buildings in a way that would align with so-called positive energy flow, supposedly bringing greater prosperity to the occupants. While Feng Shui’s mystical ideas and its adoption of a number of other pseudo-scientific practices have been debunked by skeptics, its tenets when stripped of their occult elements tend to match up with a number of what are considered good design practices, the deleterious effects of gay parties not withstanding.
The suit goes on to allege that following this confrontation, Ho was fired. Ho then texted Greene to inform him of this fact and that the couple could obviously no longer use the Amber Village’s services, leaving the couple to find a venue for their 40 guests and make other catering arrangements on short notice.
A lawsuit was filed Sept. 14 against Amber Asian Cuisine Incorporated, which in total has four sushi restaurants around the city. The couple is seeking unspecified damages, and court documents highlight that Amber Village — which closed in May to move to a new location — never refunded their deposit.
However, manager Fong Lin has reportedly called the accusations “ridiculous,” saying that the restaurant was forced to cancel the couple’s reservation because of the change of location.
He said he fired Ho for incompetence, whereby he alleges Ho said, “You guys are in big trouble.” Lin therein implies that Ho has somehow set up this problem as revenge.
Indeed, other reports suggest that this would seem out of character for the restaurant’s owners, noting that other Amber Asian Cuisine venues have in fact hosted gay wedding events.
If the suit’s version of events is accurate, this would appear to be a clear violation of New York’s Sexual Orientation Non-Discrimination Act (SENDA) which prohibits discrimination based on a person’s sexual orientation.