Kissing gay couple claims discrimination by bar

Two gay men claim they were singled out for kissing at a Charlottetown bar, but one of the owners says it's all a misunderstanding.
Co-owner Gordie Cameron says he's trying to clean up the reputation of the bar, known to some as The Dirty. (CBC)

Two gay men claim they were singled out for kissing at a Charlottetown bar, but one of the owners says it's all a misunderstanding.

The two men say they were on the dance floor of Jack Cameron's Nightclub and Eatery on Friday night when they kissed. They say co-owner Gordie Cameron pulled them aside and told them to stop.

The men, who asked to remain anonymous, say they were told the bar has a new policy against kissing on the dance floor, but other straight couples were kissing and weren't told to stop.

"Targeting one gay couple and no straight couple puts a bad image on him. It's just sad to see that on Prince Edward Island. We have a larger population of homophobic people," one of the men said. CBC News agreed not to name him.

The men posted their story on Facebook. It wasn't long before hundreds of posts appeared on the bar's Facebook page and some personal pages, accusing the bar and Cameron of being homophobic and discriminatory.

Cameron posted a reply. He admitted that he asked the men to stop kissing, but said there was no animosity and he bought them each a drink. He said he never kicked them out.

"I am not homophobic. Calling me homophobic is untrue and uncalled for. For these guys to play that card is unfair not only to me, but also to my staff and our customers. I have been the subject of libel and defamation in return for trying to provide customer service," he wrote.

Cameron said he set out to change the reputation of the bar when he became the nighttime manager two months ago. The bar, called The Dirty by some, was known for what Cameron called "sometimes excessive" intimate acts on the dance floor that upset customers.

"My actions were performed as a business-owner trying to make changes. Such overt behaviour would normally be reserved for the privacy of your bedroom. Being at ‘The Dirty’ does not give you the right to act inappropriately. It’s unacceptable, and will not be tolerated at Jack Cameron's," he wrote.

Cameron said he has told at least a dozen couples – both gay and straight – to stop kissing. He said if he missed any Friday night, it was simply because he didn't see them.

Cameron said all the negative comments directed at him and his staff forced him to close comments on the bar's Facebook page.

The two men say they don't buy Cameron's side of the story. They say they won't be returning to the bar, and neither will many of their friends.