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Women awarded damages for nightclub make-out session

David Landes · 4 Nov 2009, 13:01

Published: 04 Nov 2009 13:01 GMT+01:00

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During a visit to the Spy Bar one evening in 2005, the two women decided to lock lips in a public display of affection.

A nearby security guard quickly intervened and told the women to stop kissing, explaining that the club also frowned upon same-sex kissing involving men.

The guard’s comments prompted the women to assume that their make-out session had been interrupted as a direct result of the guard’s discriminatory views toward homosexuals.

The women’s suspicions about the guard’s views were strengthened when they saw him ignore a man and women entangled in a passionate embrace as he walked away.

The women reported the matter to HomO, Sweden’s Ombudsman against Discrimination on grounds of Sexual Orientation (now part of the Equality Ombudsman – DO), who took the matter to court.

In a June 2009 ruling the Stockholm District Court ruled Spy Bar was guilty of discrimination and ordered the club to pay the women 10,000 kronor apiece and cover the legal expenses incurred by the ombudsman.

According to the court, it is common knowledge that people who hug and kiss one another in bars and restaurants should not be instructed to stop doing so.

“These two women haven’t asked for special treatment, but for basic human rights. They only chose to do something which is completely obvious for two heterosexual people who like one another,” said Equality Ombudsman Katri Linna in a statement issued at the time of the ruling.

But Spy Bar’s owners, Stureplans Nattklubb AB, appealed the decision, arguing the evidence implicating the guard was too vague to justify a conviction.

Story continues below…

The Svea Court of Appeal, however, refused to hear the case, forcing the company to seek a leave of appeal from the Supreme Court in hopes of forcing the appellate court to hear the case.

But on Monday, Sweden’s highest court rejected the Spy Bar’s owners’ request, allowing the lower court ruling to stand.

David Landes (david.landes@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

13:36 November 4, 2009 by canuk
the people that run the 'sture' bars are a bunch of racist buttholes. its no surprise to me that this happened, and its even less suprising that they claimed that 'there was not enough evidence' as they usually try to get out of court cases claiming that the patrons were 'too drunk'. there was another case of racism a few years ago with a bar that was not letting in black or people of color, they filmed the whole episode and ended up winning the case against them. They also discrimiate against you if you speak english and not swedish.
13:59 November 4, 2009 by Osokin
Close down the place. Take their license to sell liquor away, ban the owners from company ownership for 5 years. 20k less won't do much change to their business approach.
14:07 November 4, 2009 by Nemesis
The bar discriminated and broke the law.

They got sued because of there bigotry.

They are are stupid and deserved to lose more money.

If there is no kissing allowed, it should be for everyone, not just selected few or everyone.

As for being homophobic. This is Europe, not Saudi Arabia. If they don't like the laws in Europe they should leave.

If they want to discrinate on the basis of sexual orientation they should open a bar in Riyah and get themselves in real trouble.

I have been in Spy Bar. I concur with Canuk on this one. They are moronic in the extreme.

A japanese friend had arranged to meet me there on her first time in Europe. She was told at the door no poor people. She was dressed head to toe in hermes. Her clothes probably cost as much as Spy Bar's staff earn in a year.

That single action led to some jobs going to Germany instead of Sweden. That was her job.

I have only been there once and will not go back. They are racists and xenophobic. Now we can add homophobic.

They weren't exactly nice to me either.

I think if the Swedish Democrats held there anual conference in it, they would fit in perfectly.

I am glad these two women took them to court and won.
14:24 November 4, 2009 by peropaco
Only 10.000 a head? I always looked at spybar with great dissatisfaction. Probably because they employ ex-convict work the doors
16:28 November 4, 2009 by Zatoichi
How come no comments allowed on the "Ex-moderate Muslim to form 'anti-Zionist' party in Sweden" article?
16:34 November 4, 2009 by peropaco
@Zatoichi, because it is bad for business?
17:33 November 4, 2009 by Dr Phil
Have been in Sweden for 9 years and i used to frequent bars like the SPY BAR and other bars in the STURE area. Not anymore as i now stick to bars where they are not run by the Mafias that exist in this town especially the SLAV element.

A case 5 years ago an englishman who worked for one of Swedens premier truck companies was beaten up along with his wife as they left the premises of the establisment in the STURE area.....by the doormen !!....it went to solicitors and the British embassy ...but it came to nothing in this land of rules , that certain undesirables do not abide by.

Two ladies kissing....no problem , me and my girlfiend will kiss how we want when we are out.....what the hell....leave the people alone ,gay ,straight,lesbian .....get rid of the mafia doormen.
17:50 November 4, 2009 by Celc

You do realize you can go into a gay club, right? There's no gaydar at the entrance stopping people who don't seem to be gay nor do they kick people out.
17:51 November 4, 2009 by refugee
The same should be applied for refugess ....
18:44 November 4, 2009 by Nemesis
@ Dr Phil

They are Mafia yes. Not all of them are Slav. Please stop picking out a particular group, when in fact it is lots of groups. Most Slavs in Sweden are hard working and law abiding citizens.

The properties in the Sture area, are physically owned by Swedes and rented for commercial use to the propietors.

Regarding getting rid of the Mafia doornem, AGREED.

I have stopped going to the Sture area and wish the Swedish government would take heed that it is not a place to recommend as hip and trendy to incoming foreigners. It is an area where I have seen enough to know that it is entirely criminal based.
18:58 November 4, 2009 by estrangero
If you do not like the clubs there...simple Go To Other Clubs....isn't that simple? No body goes to the club it goes broke and closes. This smells like fascism to me. A little common sense freedom goes a long way here. If it is that easy to extort money in Sweden maybe I should come over with my friends all hetero BTW and make out it these clubs then file lawsuits against them. Wow! What a career. Then make love to our real lovers at home; after "shaking down" the club owners. Can't you see how wrong this is?..
20:39 November 4, 2009 by Greg in Canada
Hey, if I could make 10,000 Kr for kissing another guy I'd do it (and yes I'm 100% heterosexual). It's not a bad wage for one night's work. :-) These gals might be on to something good. If it works again they could give up their day jobs.
20:50 November 4, 2009 by wxman
Bigotry yes, racism no. Let's get our terminology correct.
22:14 November 4, 2009 by HejHej
@ Nemesis

The security guard can be from Saudi Arabia or Iraq or might be from Isreal (only if the girls are from Palestine or Lebnon).
08:01 November 5, 2009 by glamshek
Its BAD. There should be some respect for nature. Lesbians and Gays should be Banned. This is moral degradation.
08:33 November 5, 2009 by Random Guy
Your butt should be banned since I can't see the difference between it and your face.
09:09 November 5, 2009 by square
It's a set up they were both hetro with the guy dressed as a girl knowing it would be easy to hoodwink Swedish authorities and make a fast buck. Job done ;-)
09:22 November 5, 2009 by DAVID T
Surely it's up to the owners to decide what behaviour they accept in their own clubs - not the goverment.
10:19 November 5, 2009 by Grippen
Agree with DAVIDT - it is plain stupid that the bar got a fine for creating pleasant ambiance for its customers.

Anyway I will definitely visit it when I am next time in Stureplan - they seem to care that only decent customers are in.
13:49 November 5, 2009 by Beynch
Straight or gay, the described behavior has no place in a public place. Save it for the privacy of your bedroom.
17:18 November 5, 2009 by Random Guy
...yuck... would it be ok for me to puke on them in public for this sick display? i have rights to be sick over this right?
11:12 November 6, 2009 by FirstCrusade
Do any nations in Europe have even a vague concept of private property rights?

If you don't like the regulations/rules in one business/bar, you are free to go to a different business/bar. You are not free to impose yourself on the business which is privately owned by a sovereign citizen/individual who invests his/her time and money into the business and assumes the risks of running it.

Private property, and the right to do with that property as one sees fit, is a major component of the foundation of Western civilization. It's not for nothing that Marxists are so vigorous in their attacks against private property.

The right to own and enjoy the fruits of one's labor cannot be abridged by any state that seeks to have legitimacy (and for that matter prosperity, justice, and longevity of existence).
14:40 November 6, 2009 by Twiceshy
All bars should be banned. They are the fuel to the fire that is Chaos.

All young men and children should spend weekend nights at home reading the Book of Order, or training for the Machine Crusade. Someday, we will defeat these flesh-beasts and bring about the Age of Mechanus.

All hail the Great Machine, Lord of Order and Light!
09:10 November 7, 2009 by Marc the Texan
Leave it to Sweden to name an official office for dealing with these matters after what's considered to be a slur. Wonder what the Ombudsmen are called for other groups who are discriminated against. I won't bother listing any words that come to mind.
18:34 November 10, 2009 by magellan
I think a few here have missed the point. According to the LAW here in Sweden (and many other countries that also have an equality ombudsman), homosexuals must not be discriminated against. In this case, the ladies were enjoying a freedom (the kissing) that heterosexual people are allowed. They must not be prevented from doing so purely based on their homosexuality. It's the law.

Unfortunately discrimination in this setting is dreadfully common, while being dreadfully difficult to prove. If it were possible to prove that mafioso bouncers turn people away from their bars based on skin colour, Stureplan Nattklubb would be paying out millions every weekend. Sadly it is an accepted aspect of our society, but we should be happy that at least the right laws are in place.
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