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Gays Call Cover Offensive Matchbook Tests Bias Ordinance
[Home Edition]
Los Angeles Times (pre-1997 Fulltext) - Los Angeles, Calif.
Author: Braun, Stephen
Date: Jan 6, 1985
Start Page: 1
Section: Westside; 11; Zones Desk
Abstract (Document Summary)

[Irwin Held], who has owned the restaurant for 15 years, said he would not decide how to react until his attorney, Norman Levine, meets with [Michael Jenkins]. But Held said he doesn't consider matchbooks evidence of discrimination against homosexuals and added he is reluctant to halt their distribution because "they're a part of the history of the place."

Continuing the pressure, gay activists filed suit four years later in an attempt to obtain a court injunction preventing Held from distributing the matchbooks and selling T-shirts with the anti-gay slogan. The suit was dismissed after Held's attorneys argued that the slogan was "part of the tradition and decor of Barney's" and that it was "obviously intended to be humorous and is not coupled with any policy or practice of discrimination."

With the council's approval, [Alan Viterbi] and [Steve Schulte] asked Jenkins to draft a warning letter to Held. Viterbi said if the restaurant doesn't comply, the matchbooks probably would be turned over to the county district attorney's office, which is under contract to handle the city's criminal cases and has assigned two prosecutors to handle discrimination complaints.

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