Watch: Gay Couple Speak Up About Anti-Gay Slur at Restaurant, Seek 'Conversation, Positive Change'

by Kilian Melloy

EDGE Staff Reporter

Thursday May 9, 2019

Craig Hollid-Ausset and his husband had finished their dinner at a Long Island restaurant and were leaving the establishment when they were suddenly subjected to an anti-gay slur hurled at them in Spanish by a waiter. The incident took place the evening of May 3.

Hollid-Ausset took to Facebook to share what happened:

"Marc and I were verbally abused and intimidated while we were leaving Casa Rustica in Smithtown tonight," Hollid-Ausset wrote. "We were called faggots in Spanish while they all laughed while they surrounded us. It was a rude reminder that homophobia is alive and well on Long Island."

"It continues to happen to far too many of us every day," Hollid-Ausset's post went on. "Casa Rustica please share this post to spread the word."

The establishment did spread the word, going on to Facebook with an apologetic post of its own.

"We are deeply sorry and saddened for the unfortunate incident that took place on May 3rd." Casa Rustic posted at its Facebook page. "We do not condone the actions of one employee's irresponsible behavior and it does not reflect the reputation of our 34-year establishment... We hold our staff to the highest esteem of professionalism and personal integrity," the post continued. "People are proud to be part of our establishment and only people of the highest character will be employed here going forward."

But proprietor Mimmo Gambino went the extra mile and reached out to the men personally, reported New York ABC affiliate Channel 7.

"He was very apologetic, very understanding," Hollid-Ausset told Channel 7. Though Gambino said he would fire the offending personnel if the men wanted, they declined, preferring to make the incident a moment for conversation rather than punishment.

"We said, look, we're not trying to get people fired," Craig's husband Marc told the news station. "It's about a conversation and positive change, not negative consequences."

To that end, the men said, that they felt it was important to speak out about what happened.

"Speak out loud, and people will be there to support you," Marc told the news channel.

Watch the Channel 7 video below.

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Assistant Arts Editor. He also reviews theater for WBUR. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.

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