2 businesses allege discrimination against gay community in COVID rules enforcement

They say inspectors performed excessive COVID-related visits which led to unjustified shutdown attempts.
Published: Nov. 22, 2021 at 3:10 PM HST|Updated: Nov. 22, 2021 at 4:55 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Two establishments are suing the Honolulu Liquor Commission and state inspectors, accusing them of discrimination against businesses that serve the gay community.

The owner of Scarlet Honolulu and the publication Gay Island Guide say several inspectors targeted them with excessive COVID-related visits and unjustified shutdowns.

That’s despite being entirely vaccinated venues.

The lawsuit also alleges the agencies failed to investigate the harassment which their attorney says harmed the entire LGBT community.

“Scarlet is an important place to a lot of people they want the ability to come together and this location is being targeted they are being harassed and they are being shut down,” said James DiPasquale, attorney for the two establishments.

“It’s not just economic. You are basically forcing people into hiding. It’s absolutely unacceptable behavior and it needs to stop.”

The lawsuit demands the inspectors be barred from enforcement on gay establishments and that there be new training and policies about dealing with gay-oriented businesses.

HNN is seeking response to the lawsuit from the city and state.

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