Food for Thought

I was having dinner with my daughter at HOME TOWN BUFFET (I lead such a glamorous life!) and a guy came in wearing a black t-shirt that said in big, white letters  PURE FUCKING METAL. The management wouldn’t let him in and he left without incident. It’s a family restaurant and it was filled with kids. I would have done the same thing if I was the manager. But it got me thinking, was this man’s rights violated? Would he have grounds for a successful lawsuit? What if his t-shirt had a picture of a penis or a vagina on it instead?

8 thoughts on “Food for Thought”

  1. No violation here. The manager wasn’t a government entity, so the Bill of Rights doesn’t play here. (“Congress shall make no law”).
    Now, if the guy could show that the manager was being unequal in the enforcement of his rule about no offensive T-shirts, he could have a case, especially if the guy was black and white customers wearing similar shirts were being seated. That implies a racial standard is being used.

  2. All legal rights aside, I believe his rights as an individual had been violated and he was refused the freedom to express his personal preference or identity. To most of us, it’s vulgar and unorthodox but what if a guy came in with a big star of satan on his tee? His religion is his right. Would a christian restaurant manager refuse him service? That calls for a lawsuit no doubt.

  3. IANAL, but as folks have said, no violation here, as the manager has the right to refuse service.
    However, it is abundantly clear from the Supreme Court’s case law that the state could not arrest or fine the guy, e.g. for disturbing the peace, just because the message on the t-shirt used offensive language. Key case is a Vietnam protestor who had a right to wear a shirt saying “Fuck the Draft”.

  4. On the one hand, it’s in bad taste to wear a t-shirt with blatant swearing or R (or XXX) rated imagery.
    On the other hand, it’s Home Town Buffet.
    I say this one’s a toss-up.
    In all seriousness, if they can regulate whether or not obscenity is allowed on TV and radio, I don’t know why you couldn’t regulate obscenity on graphic-T’s. Especially in the confines of private property, like good ol’ Home Town Buffet.


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