'Toxic masculinity running rampant,' Regina pub says in Facebook post calling out behaviour

Staff at Lancaster Taphouse in Regina are saying "enough is enough" when it comes to dealing with toxic masculinity from customers. 

'This still exists as a massive issue that needs to change,' says general manager Tracy Herauf

The Lancaster Taphouse's downtown Regina location. Bad behaviour by customers toward female workers 'had been growing and growing and it was time to do something,' says one of the pub's co-owners. (Lancaster Taphouse/Facebook)

WARNING: This story contains language some readers may find offensive.

Ownership and management at Lancaster Taphouse in Regina are saying "enough is enough" when it comes to staff dealing with toxic masculinity from customers. 

General manager Tracy Herauf says in her 20 years in the restaurant industry, she's dealt with a lot of unruly customers. But she says it's getting worse, and she's had enough of the demeaning and sexist remarks both she and her staff at the gastropub's downtown Regina location deal with.

There are now at least two incidents happening in any given week, she said, but one specific incident from about a month ago stood out to her as an example of the type of behaviour women are facing.

She was helping a woman bartender behind the bar, and a group of three men were sitting at the bar. Two had nearly empty drinks, and one had a full drink.

"She asked the two that had empty drinks what they would like and she went to go tell me so that I could make this drink, and as she walked towards me, the one with the full drink yelled at her, 'What's wrong? You can only remember two drinks in your little brain?'"

After hearing from his managers at the downtown location in Regina following a particularly stressful shift following a Roughriders game, Lancaster Taphouse co-owner Tim Rogers decided to take to Facebook to let people know that type of behaviour won't be tolerated.

"It was really seeing the look on [Tracy's] face and some of our other female staff … after a busy day and just seeing the level of frustration that should be satisfaction at the time. But it wasn't," said Rogers.

"Was there just a certain group that forgot how to socialize over a year and a half? Or was it just pent up frustrations with everything we've dealt with?… It just had been growing and growing and it was time to do something."

Tim Rogers, co-owner of Lancaster Taphouse, said in a Facebook post that the pub will have 'zero tolerance' for customers who mistreat staff. (Matthew Howard/CBC)

Rogers said that with the restaurant industry suffering during the pandemic and staff relying on limited tips for income, it can be hard for staff to call out bad behaviour. 

Herauf said it's part of her job to ensure a safe work environment, free of harassment and abuse. 

"Holding on to good people is more difficult than it should be because of what's going on, so it's important for [Tim] to know everything as well," said Herauf. 

"I have had owners in the past that tend to look the other way."

'Condescending and disgusting remarks'

Rogers wrote a strongly worded post on Facebook on Sept. 6 calling out "the toxic masculinity running rampant right now." He shared the post — which now has thousands of likes and hundreds of shares — with Herauf prior to publishing on Facebook.

"We have an absolutely beautiful kick ass management team and our one location is run by a couple of amazing [women]," the post says. "We didn't set out to hire women. They just kick ass and are the best people for the job."

"I cringe watching how much harder it is for the team … [of] women. … The absolutely condescending and disgusting remarks they deal with from customers. These f--king losers who think they can talk down and be shitty to the person on the other side of the bar, just because they are female, assuming they couldn't be the ones in charge."

That kind of behaviour is tolerated "because we're all hanging on by the skin of our teeth.… So we're afraid to lose any kind of business at all," the post says.

"It's f--king bullshit and it stops now. If you're the type of person that needs to go out to a restaurant and be shitty to the employees you're no longer welcome at the Lancaster. Zero tolerance," it says.

"Enough is enough," the post concludes.

Management and ownership at Lancaster Taphouse in Regina are speaking out against the toxic masculinity faced by women staff by customers. 12:01

"At first, I thought we needed to make it maybe a bit gentler and maybe pull back some of the intensity," said Herauf.

"But then I thought, no. To actually reach a lot of people on social media and get people discussing the issue again, it should be put out with all the emotion."

The level of support in response to the post was "pretty awesome," she said.

Both Herauf and Rogers said they got responses from others in the hospitality industry saying they had been experiencing the same thing. 

"It really was proof that this still exists as a massive issue that needs to change," said Herauf.

With files from The Morning Edition