9 Former Micky’s Employees Sue Gay Bar; Lawyer Goes Public With Graphic Details

Wed, May 15, 2013   By James F. Mills    65 Comments

Micky's West Hollywood

Ahead of an October trial, the lawyer for nine former Micky’s employees has gone public about a lawsuit filed against the West Hollywood gay bar in July 2011.

The plaintiffs are charging the popular nightclub, known for its male strippers and go-go dancers, with civil rights violations, which include lewd conduct, creating a sexually hostile work environment, racial discrimination and discrimination against heterosexual employees, and labor code violations.

Matthew Krupnick, the lawyer who filed the lawsuit against West Hollywood Boys Town, Inc. (WHBT), owner of Micky’s, provided WEHOville photographic evidence of strippers performing in the nude, strippers openly displaying their penises and masturbating in front of patrons, a stripper walking around with semen on his face and chest, a patron using his finger to penetrate a stripper’s butt, a ring toss game involving a man’s penis and employees pouring shots of liquor down a stripper’s back while a patron licked it from the stripper’s butt.

The civil rights complaint filed under California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) contends that employees were forced to work in a sexually hostile environment because hardcore gay pornography played on big-screen TVs throughout the club during working hours. One of the plaintiffs alleges that his roommate was featured in a porn video.

“No one should be required to work in an environment with this going on all around them,” said Krupnick, an employment and personal injury attorney. “As a gay man who fights for the rights of LGBT people, to see gays in a position of such authority and ability abusing that authority and ability in the way the club is doing is offensive to me. I’m motivated to ensure this never happens again in our town.”

Micky’s did not return requests for comment.

The bar also is under state investigation for 14 counts of lewd conduct and two counts of giving away alcoholic beverages, according to the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC).

The nine plaintiffs – all male, five gay and four straight – worked as bartenders, a security guard and a manager. Two female employees were also initially involved in the suit before dropping out.

Krupnick reports that the straight employees were forced out of their jobs at Micky’s because management didn’t like having heterosexual employees. According to Krupnick, they were told when they started they’d be fine as long as they kept their heterosexuality a secret.

One black employee and one bi-racial employee, both gay, say they were fired because Micky’s owner Michael Niemeyer, didn’t want African-Americans working there. One employee was accused of stealing and exhibiting a “West Hollywood attitude,” according to the lawsuit.

The alleged labor code violations include employees not being given the state-required meal and 10-minute breaks during an eight-hour shift and management falsifying time cards and wrongful termination.

This is not the first lawsuit involving labor code violations filed against Micky’s. Since 2000, the bar has been sued 11 times (not including the current case). Eight of the lawsuits were dismissed. In two, the judges did not award the plaintiff’s any money. In one, Micky’s had to pay a promoter $1,082.

“What differs about this lawsuit is the quantity of people,” said Krupnick who added that all of the plaintiffs approached him about representation.

The lawsuit was initially filed as two separate cases (the four straight employees had a separate suit). Krupnick said Micky’s filed a motion in January 2012 to consolidate the two lawsuits into one.

Another motion to transfer the case from downtown Los Angeles to Santa Monica was denied. Judge Elizabeth Allen White will preside over the case, which is expected to last 20 days.

Krupnick said he did enter into private mediation with the plaintiffs, which resulted in a settlement offer of less than $100,000.

“My clients respectfully declined that offer,” said Krupnick, who believes the case could carry a $15 million verdict, if not higher, depending on the punitive damages the jury awards.

According to Krupnick, the jury will decide on each case individually, meaning each plaintiff could be awarded a different amount if Micky’s is found liable.

“It’s not OK what’s happening there,” said Krupnick. “The lewd conduct is still going on down there. You can walk by and see it happening from the sidewalk. Why aren’t people talking about what’s going on at Micky’s?”

A longtime fixture on the West Hollywood gay club scene, Micky’s closed in August 2007 after an electrical fire. A rebuilt two-story Micky’s reopened in April 2009. That year, the Micky’s entry in the annual gay pride parade was go-go dancers riding on a fire truck with an accompanying banner reading “Flaming Gay Bar.”

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65 Comments

  1. Weho GuyFri, May 17, 2013 at 6:25 pm

    Mr Krupnick on FB https://www.facebook.com/CaliforniaLitigators

  2. WillFri, May 17, 2013 at 6:55 pm

    I’m interested in hearing how this turns out; there are certainly some issues worth considering. But a 20 day trial? With each plaintiff’s award considered separately?? It sounds like hell for the unlucky jurors.

    (And what is “stealing and exhibiting a ‘West Hollywood attitude.'”?)

  3. DRWFri, May 17, 2013 at 11:45 pm

    So, here we have a number of people commenting on social mores, perceived differences between gay and straight communities and venues, and inequality as justification for violating the law. That’s just sad. The world is not all sunshine and lollipops, of course. We have an imperfect system wherein corruption and unethical behavior is not always surfaced, let alone penalized. Yes, our rights as GLBTQ people have been violated and continue to be violated in many places through unequal application of the laws and protections of our communities, states and nation, as well as legislated by bigots and homophobes. But, look around. Get outside your comfort zone — whether Boyztown, Brentwood or the barrio — and listen to voices of so many who stand with us, especially young people. The world is changing. The more we promote and pursue the eye-for-an-eye argument, the more we strengthen the bigots’ maligning portrait of us as second-class citizens who deserve to live only in ghettos (e.g., WeHo), hold only certain jobs, and interact with only each other.

    If Micky’s has broken laws and violated individuals’ rights to a safe workplace, then they should be held responsible. Businesses have an obligation to protect employees and their rights. If the plaintiffs’ allegations are found to be false, then the cases will falter. However, at least one attorney believes they are at least worthy of investigation and consideration. This is how our system works, and for all its failings — and there are many — it is arguably one of the best legal systems in the world.

    To those who are so sure of their arguments, I suggest a quick reading of one of famed attorney Gerry Spence’s books, or view “A Civil Action.” Sometimes only one attorney has the courage and open mind to hear the things most of us might want to ignore, avoid or condemn. And, if you were one of the plaintiffs, or your child, nephew, sister or partner was, wouldn’t you be grateful for a fair hearing, if only by one person at first?. Attorneys are human beings, every one of them I have ever met, and it’s been many. Are all GLBTQ persons identical? No. I don’t like all attorneys, nor do I like all of us either. Please, check your prejudices at the door and take the higher ground. The view of our future is better from up here.

  4. nephi3Sat, May 18, 2013 at 4:47 am

    I just love “Weho Patron” who states he has been in Micky’s 3-4 nights a week for 15 years. GET A FREAKING LIFE YOU LOUNGE LIZARD!

  5. chrSat, May 18, 2013 at 1:08 pm

    To everyone saying that its just a gay bar and it shouldn’t matter – it does. They were hired under the pretext of being go-go boys or bar tenders, not working in a sex club… Furthermore, violating meal breaks and falsifying time cards are serious issues. But the worse is firing heterosexual or black employees. That’s discrimination…

  6. JimmyMon, May 20, 2013 at 6:17 pm

    Gay Men behave differently than Lesbians, Str8 Men or Str8 Women.
    If you go to a Gay Men’s Bar, you should expect behaviour that is exhiliarating and not shy of repression. A Gay Men’s Bar is a safe oasis from discrimination, judgement and the daily requirement to conform to straight world.
    Anyone entering Micky’s goes there to have a bawdy good time. If you are shy, sheltered, disturbed by gogo dancers or the occassional porn clip (which has to meet community decency standards)…then DO NOT ENTER. No one is forcing you to attend this bar or to apply for employment at this establishment.
    These few people filing a “sour grapes” lawsuit…their tips must’ve dried up much like their youth. Take the tips you earned and the lessons you learned and move on.
    There’s a line of younger, better looking, well adjusted and graciously endowed Gay and Str8 Men who would be happy to have the opportunities that a job at Micky’s would provide.

  7. JoelMon, May 20, 2013 at 9:16 pm

    I don’t know anything about the validity of employee’s case so I wont comment on that. But I have been saying for years to my friends that are dying for Gay marriage, be careful what you wish for. I believe in these issues as a matter of civil rights. But I am very skeptical of the motives of some activists – believing that having the ability to marry means that the majority will love us and that we are like them. Neither is true. We are not like straight society, at least culturally. Our history is different – being forced into the closets, being beaten, being harassed and even as I write this, many states are allowed to openly discriminate against us as is the Federal f@#% government. This leads to a lot of self hatred, and we all see what that looks like. But in the end, we are men. Sex and sexuality are completely different for us. And in an odd way, our poor treatment, our torment and the continued violation of our rights has, for me, produced a community in which I am proud and that I will gladly embrace where ever I am, in any small town on the planet. We have all the same issues of every other group – we are human after all. But we dance, and and have sex and love on a higher level. Human beings are evolving and I believe that Gay people (and our straight allies) are at the forefront of this evolution. I am not ashamed anymore, I do not need their approval and we are not like them. Can you imagine if we believed that, and their opinion about our “lifestyle” no longer mattered? I. have been going to Mickey’s for over a decade and they always push the limits, just like any straight strip club, or Sunset Strip bar does – that’s the point. If you don’t like it, there are plenty of malls or churches. Enjoy.

  8. Citizen QMon, May 20, 2013 at 9:37 pm

    So who are these Agrieved plantiffs? It’s public record, funny the attorney didn’t release their names.. Too afraid to come public! Or ashamed?

  9. EvanTue, May 21, 2013 at 5:53 pm

    These people are working in a gay bar as barely clothed erotic dancers (most of whom are porn stars) and half naked bartenders, WTF?!? Regardless of being gay or straight what in the Hell did these moron expect a bloody clerical job. As for porn playing or the evil patrons abusing the workers, no one forced them to stay!! They are all adults, if they don’t know how to set boundaries either with their boss or with the patrons they shouldn’t be doing the gig. I have worked jobs were the employer was an asshole and the environment was Hellish, guess what I didn’t sue my employer I quit and got a better job!! Further it’s actually the bartender’s job not to serve clients till they are or after they become abusive and if they do, HELLO security is there to deal with unruly patrons! Every time I have been there guys as big as houses are moving through the bar keeping the peace. The stupid attorney, who will lose this case, assumes that his clients worked there without knowledge of the situation or a choice or proper protection, none of this is true! Lastly, you are straight, you are actually looking for employment at GAY bar (go figure) and astonishingly the boss hires you but under one condition, you not divulge your sexual orientation. This will serve to make your life easier when dealing with the patrons as well as implying that your boss hires employees from the community, it’s a win win and you get paid. You agree to the terms, take the job and then complain you were forced not to divulge, really?!? Honestly, these people and there attorney are all money seeking idiots!

  10. BrandonThu, May 30, 2013 at 9:57 am

    I never knew it was so much fun there. Wish I had gone there instead of the other clubs.

  11. JJWed, Jul 10, 2013 at 11:15 pm

    Drew…I just went through the Weho nights photos and I can tell you that in fact most of those photos were NOT taken at Mickys. There are 3 photos (I think) that I could tell were in fact taken at Mickys and in those three photos there is nothing tawdry going on (three, not most of) I suggest that before you post something you purport to be fact, you make sure that it is so and not just the cranking of the rumor mill. We have enough of that going on in Weho!!!

  12. Chris B. in SFVMon, Aug 05, 2013 at 10:58 pm

    I’m a gay guy and I’ve been to some kinky nightclubs but there’s something really uncomfortable about Micky’s and Here Bar. You get a nasty feeling that the gogo dancers are prostitutes and the patrons are all lecherous and aggressive. By contrast, the clubs in SoMa (San Francisco) are WAY more naked and outrageous but the people are more respectful and friendly. West Hollywood is characterized by youth obsessed old men hoping to seduce desperate kids into going home with them. It’s all very predictable and I never have a good time there.

  13. MikeTue, Oct 01, 2013 at 8:50 am

    This lawsuit is ridiculous and that lawyer should be ashamed for bringing this case to court. The posters and advertisements for Micky’s feature near naked men, even the logo shows the torso of a shirtless man. If any potential employees felt uncomfortable in a sexually charged environment they should work in a regular bar or restaurant where they can make less in tips than they would at a busy gay bar. The fact that Micky’s has been sued 11 times and almost all the cases were dismissed or negligible shows that these lawsuits are hail mary attempts to extort money from companies; then the company has to hire a lawyer and pay that person hundreds of dollars to defend themselves… lawyers making more money for other lawyers…

  14. Jesse AlvarezThu, Oct 31, 2013 at 4:24 pm

    Sounds like an amazingly great time!! Where do I get an application? Lmao

  15. Weho GaySat, Nov 23, 2013 at 9:04 am

    Is seducing video and pictures without showing private parts a porno? If so, many stores should be sued. Funny law sue.

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