Black Acre Brewing Company owner Jordan Gleason is making news after he banned a customer for sexually harassing his women employees.
The guest in question harassed the women employees by making profane remarks about their bodies and how they dressed while they worked. The customer was kicked out and returned, expecting to be let in because bygones be bygones, right?
Gleason refused service but the customer kept returning. He then sat down with the man for a heart-to-heart about the encounters and the harassment. It didn't go too well for the customer who seems set on treating women like trash. Gleason then took to Facebook to blog about the whole ordeal.
It's powerful stuff and highlights the poor treatment women face in the restaurant industry and as a society on whole every day.
Below is Gleason's entire post (note: there is some profanity):
This is a longer post, so bear with me...
Today I had to explain to a 60 year old man why he was banned from the pub.
In January he made several sexist remarks about the female staff that were working. He told them to their faces that that he liked looking at their tits while they washed dishes, and their asses while they were pouring drinks. He was told to leave and not come back. He came back last month, and was told we wouldn't serve him. He came back yet again today, and when told he wouldn't be served demanded to talk to a manger.
I sat with him for a few minutes as he explained that what he said would have been okay 20 years ago, and that it was just some off colour remarks. He told me he had apologized, and that he guessed my servers were too sensitive. He then told me that if what he said was a problem, then I should tell them not to wear low cut shirts, and that I should face the dish washing sink away from customers. But since he apologized, he should be allowed to drink in my establishment because he lives in the neighborhood and will bring in business.
I told him flatly that wasn't happening, and that what he said to those ladies was incredibly offensive. The simple fact that he couldn't understand that just because they were were working didn't mean they deserve his disrespectful language. That these ladies were part of my family, and were human beings that deserved respect. They aren't objects, and they certainly shouldn't have to wear different clothes because he can't be bothered with showing them any decency or respect. "But we're men and they're females. Is cleavage just not a thing anymore?"
I told him yeah buddy, it's not, and I won't be changing my mind about having him served. He threatened bad publicity, I told him I didn't care, and he left.
I work in the service industry, and we get the sheer joy and pleasure of meeting and talking to so many great people in our city. I've met some of my best friends here behind the bar. I live for it man. Connecting people who haven't met, making sure people can relax from a shitty day, or celebrate a great one, or just to simply enjoy a few beers with friends. I've seen wedding proposals, birthday parties, political discussions, deep philosophical debates, neighborhood organization, the absolute works. The best of humanity coming together and bonding. That's my JAM. It's one of the biggest reasons I get out of bed in the morning to come in to work day after day.
As absolutely insanely fun as that is, the dark side of this business is we run into some pretty horrible goblin people. Folks who think that just because we're serving, we don't deserve any basic decency or respect. I've been snapped at, mocked, threatened, and insulted about not having a real job. Anybody in this line of work gets used to a degree of it and develops a thicker skin. Here's the thing though, women in this field get infinitely more disgustingly treated. The sheer number of times they get groped, or harassed, or treated like objects would blow your mind. The worst of it is how normal their harassers think their behavior is. Every single lady in here handles it with grace and aplomb, and I applaud them for it. I've had their backs as we've bounced people out for that trash, but countless times they just deal with it before it even gets to me.
Sometimes the dudes get so worked up that they demand to see a manager, and I get called in to speak with them. Every single fucking time they attempt to appeal to me solely because I'm a man. They try to weasel in with me about how the women are asking for it. That women shouldn't dress that way if they don't want to be stared at. They attempt to explain it away as just "dudes being dudes." It's expected for men to stare at women's breasts and make jokes about how much they want to fuck them. Wink Wink. Of course you'll understand they think, because you also have a dick. What terrifies and enrages me is how every one of them thinks that this is normal behavior, but also that other men will agree with them.
Men, we often don't see the level of filth that our friends, sisters, and mothers go through every day. We hope to surround ourselves with people who would never treat a woman like that. We live in a safe little bubble. But the reality of this thing? It's an insidious disease that's happening every single day, several times a day and it turns my fucking stomach.
So why am I writing this? I want to acknowledge the struggle of every single woman who will read this. You deserve our respect and to be treated with decency. I want to stand up and say, I'm fucking sick of this. To every dude out there, we need to fucking combat this disease like its the god damned plague that it is. If one of your friends says something shitty about a woman, tell him to shut his fucking mouth. Don't just laugh it off or ignore it. We need to listen when our sisters talk about this, and not just blame it on some bad apples. Not just say "not all dudes do that" or "well no one I know would ever do that." Nah man. This is an endemic cultural problem. If we want to start taking our status as gentlemen seriously we need to do more than just avoiding being a sexist prick ourselves. We need to open our eyes and fight it everywhere we see it, because the only way this thing gets better is to start calling it out for what it is.
Edit: Sorry for so many edits. I keep finding typos. Writing in anger isn't so conducive to well typed responses.
We've mentioned before that one of your jobs as a restaurant manager is to look after and protect your employees. Sure, you bend over backwards for guests and sometimes have to deal with a little dirt in the process, but sometimes you need to draw the line on what's acceptable and not.
According to a report by Restaurant Opportunities Centers United, 80% of women restaurant workers have been sexually harassed by a customer at some point during the year. More than half get sexually harassed at least once a month, and 74% have been harassed by co-workers on a monthly basis.
Further more, nearly 40% of all sexual harassment claims made to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission come from restaurant employees, more than any other industry in the country, according to the ROC report.
Those are some appalling numbers. And ones that restaurant operators need to take dead seriously.
We applaud Gleason for doing what's right by protecting his employees while also trying to educate his former customer in a civil manner. Alas, there's still a long way to go. Every restaurant manager and staff member can make a difference in their own establishment by not letting customers abuse and harass their staff.
Black Acre images from Indianapolis Monthly