Thai Spice, a restaurant in Adelaide, Australia, has been fined $1,500 for refusing a blind man entry because employees thought his dog was “gay.”
According to the Sunday Mail, a restaurant employee mistook Ian Jolly’s guide dog, Nudge, for a “gay dog.”
In a statement to the Equal Opportunity Tribunal, a panel that hears complaints regarding unlawful discrimination, restaurant owners Hong Hoa Thi To and Anh Hoang Le said that a waiter had misunderstood the heavy accent of Jolly’s partner, Chris Lawrence.
The owners stated that the waiter believed Lawrence “to be saying she wanted to bring a gay dog into the restaurant…The staff genuinely believed that Nudge was an ordinary pet dog which had been desexed to become a gay dog.”
Even after Jolly and Lawrence showed the staff a guide dogs facts card – and despite a “Guide Dogs Welcome” sign on display – they were refused service.
In addition to the fine, the restaurant staff must give Jolly a written apology and attend an equal opportunity education class.
Jolly told the Sunday Mail that he was happy with the outcome, although his enthusiasm for dining out had been dampened.
“I just want to be like everybody else and be able to go out for dinner, to be left alone and just enjoy a meal,” he said.