A group that gathered for birthday drinks at the Prahran Hotel on Sunday evening were harassed by fellow patrons at around 7pm, when several people in the pub began to taunt the group by calling them “faggots”. Security was approached immediately and responded that the pub was “not a fag bar”. Security continued to repeat that the venue was not a gay bar, and the group was asked to leave.
Regarding the behaviour of himself and his friends, Joe Busuttil said “we were behaved and friendly, we spent our money and caused no trouble”.
“It was my understanding security was at a venue to protect its patrons. In this case security joined the vindication and the abuse was very personal,” Brussitil said.
Whilst being escorted out by security, Stephen Russell Alexander stated that they had done nothing to deserve being thrown out of the pub. He vocally condemned their treatment as homophobic and discriminatory, and was punched in the arm twice by security.
Alexander contacted both Victoria Police and The Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission.
The incident comes on the heels of a similar one that took place at the Bridge Hotel in Richmond. It is alleged that a man was asked to leave by security after kissing his boyfriend. Both the Bridge Hotel and the Prahran Hotel are operated by the Sand Hill Road hospitality group.
Following the incident, the Prahran Hotel released a public apology announcing the dismissal of both guards involved.
Part-owner Andy Mullins said management were disappointed they had to investigate “vile accusations of homophobia and derogatory behaviour at our pub”.
“Our security contractor will be providing additional training to all of their guards in seeking to ensure this type of behavior is never repeated. These resolutions were unanimous and made swiftly, as they should be,” the statement said.
“Prahran Hotel is a pub that exists in the heart of Prahran. It’s not a straight pub. It’s not a gay pub. It’s open and welcoming to all. Last night that spirit was compromised. And we have honoured that spirit, we hope, by acting firmly and by acting quickly in its defence.”