Long Island restaurateur is accused of beating and hurling homophobic slurs at a gay waiter who wore the wrong shoes to work, lawsuit alleges
A Long Island restaurateur hurled homophobic slurs at a gay waiter, threatened to kill him and struck him in the face so hard that a tooth was knocked out of his mouth, all because the server wore the wrong shoes to work, according to a new lawsuit.
Michael Abenante filed a complaint in Brooklyn federal court last week against Emilio Branchinelli, the owner of Emilio’s Pizzeria & Ristorante in Commack, New York, alleging multiple counts of discrimination, civil rights violations and battery.
迈克尔·阿贝南特(Michael Abenante)上周向布鲁克林联邦法院提起诉讼，指控纽约州科马克(Commack)埃米利奥披萨店(Emily io‘s Pizzeria&Ristorante)的老板埃米利奥·布兰奇内利(Emily Io Branchinelli)犯有多项歧视、侵犯民权和殴打等罪名。
But the situation took a violent turn on November 15, 2019, when Abenante arrived at work wearing a pair of black Converse sneakers, which enraged his boss, even the the shoes had been purportedly approved by a manager.
According to the 13-page lawsuit, first reported on by the New York Post, Branchinelli ordered Abenante to buy a new pair of shoes from Sketchers on his lunch break, or 'find another f***ing job.'
The server complied with the owner's demands and promptly purchased replacement shoes, but his choice of footwear did not meet Branchinelli's expectations, sparking a foul-mouthed tirade, the complaint states.
'You f***ing a**hole!' the owner was quoted as shouting at Abenante during the outburst. 'Those are not what I told you to get[?] You look like a f***ing homo mountain climber, are you f***ing stupid? Finish the tables you have, take em off and go back to exchange you f***ing moron, you and your c*** mother both should’ve died when she pushed you out!''
Branchinelli then allegedly chased the employee from the restaurant, kicking him in the lower back, grabbing him by the shirt and punching him in the face with such force that the victim spit out a tooth.
During the attack, the owner of the eatery allegedly told Abenante: 'F***ing faggot, I’ll murder you,' the lawsuit claims.
The beating was the last straw for Abenante, who allegedly had endured nearly two years of homophobic comments from his co-workers, some of whom also made suggestive whistling sounds and hand gestures simulating sexual acts, blew kisses at him, slapped his backside and grabbed his penis, according to the lawsuit.
'After Plaintiff voiced his discomfort, the predominantly male kitchen staff nicknamed him “culero,” which he later discovered meant “b****/f*****' in Spanish,' according to the lawsuit.
The server made repeated complaints to management, but allegedly no action was taken to put an end to the harassment.
Abenante's former colleague Sabrina Kozminsky is also suing Branchinelli, claiming sexual harassment and discrimination.
Kozminsky was hired as a server at the Commack eatery in June 2019, just six months before Abenante's departure.
The woman claimed she was repeatedly leered at and groped by male colleagues, and subjected to a litany of unwelcome sexual advances and lewd comments, including 'I wanna put a baby inside you' and 'Why won't you let me f*** you?'
One staffer allegedly asked the waitress, 'You like it in the a**?'
After Kozminsky complained about her co-workers' conduct to her supervisor, Lena Brnachinelli, who is the owner's daughter, the lawsuit alleges that the daily harassment and unwelcome touching only escalated, prompting the server to quit her job.
Abenante and Kozminsky's federal lawsuit is seeking unspecified punitive and compensatory damages, along with backpay and attorneys' fees.
A representative of Emilio's on Tuesday declined to comment on the lawsuit.