Home' South Florida Gay News : SFGN 011316 Contents 22 • 01.13.2016
Last month a Broward County jury delivered
a damage award to a bar patron who claimed
he was accosted by a bouncer in a nightclub.
The verdict was reported in the county’s legal
newspaper, the Daily Business Review.
The piece of this story that caught our eye was
that the victim was a gay man who was apparently
struck by a gay bartender in a local gay club, now
defunct, the Wilton Manors bar once known as The
Stable. He sued the parent corporation, Scandals
Bar & Lounge, and was awarded $39,787.
It was not a major story. We tend not to cover bar
fights. If we covered all the bar fights from Key West
to North Palm Beach, we would become the South
Florida Gay Legal News.
But this story was different. This was not an
unsubstantiated accusation. This was not someone
calling us up screaming on Monday that a bouncer
beat him on Sunday. This is a case where a gay man
was hurt, his lawyer sued, the case went to trial, and
a judgment was awarded.
But when we called the owner of Scandals, Ken
Kelley, for a comment, he launched two accusatory
tirades at SFGN, as if we were doing something
wrong, stating, “SFGN must be desperate for news.”
Nonsense. All we were trying to do was report some
simple facts about what happened.
But Kelley would have none of it. He wrote to us
that he determined the incident was a non-issue...
end of story.” We respectfully disagree. While the
incident happened four years ago, the jury verdict
was last month. So it is timely and newsworthy,
whether you like it or not. It certainly was for the
Daily Review – and they have been around for about
one hundred years longer than us.
This was a real case where a bouncer was accused
of attacking a gay male patron in a gay nightclub in
our hometown. Broward Sheriff’s deputies may
have cleared him of criminal wrongdoing, as Mr.
Kelley pointed out to us, but that does not mean
he wasn’t civilly negligent, or that the bar was not
legally responsible for his actions. Ask O.J. Simpson.
Finally, we asked Mr. Kelley if he still employs
the bouncer in his present bar. We thought you had
a right to know if the person is still working at a
popular bar you may patronize.
Here was Mr. Kelley’s unseemly and crude reply
to our reporter: “The only comment I have to say to
you, Norm Kent, and SFGN is that your insistence to
publish a story that has absolutely no relevance and
is in no way shape or form newsworthy is tabloid
journalism at its worst. I will not dignify this effort to
cause me and my business harm with any additional
communication with you or any other person at
SFGN regarding this.”
Mr. Kelley, my duty as the publisher of SFGN is to
the community’s interests, not yours. Reporting the
facts and the truth faithfully is what we do, even if
it exposes warts and wounds in our own bedroom.
Telling unpleasant stories or unpopular news does
not mean we have it ‘in’ for any bar, seek to target
any owner, or want to cause their establishment
In this particular case, Jeffrey Dinsmore, 39, said
a bouncer pushed him so hard that he was knocked
down, and it caused him to hit his head on the floor,
suffering a concussion. As reported in our story,
Dinsmore claimed he later missed three months
of work with post-concussion syndrome. He sued
Scandal’s for failure to properly interview, train,
supervise, and manage its employees.
The Stable could have defended the lawsuit. They
chose not to. We asked why; that’s called journalism.
You had nothing to hide. You have nothing to be
ashamed of. Sometimes, bad things happen. They
may or may not be your fault. Regardless, we are this
community’s newspaper, not your personal fluffer.
Two separate newspapers reported the results.
It makes us neither a terrible paper or tabloid
journalists. It keeps you honest and us real. It wasn’t
a major story until you made it one.
Publishing those facts in the South Florida
Gay News or the Daily Business Review is simply
fulfilling our obligation to report the news. That’s
America; that’s a free press. That’s who we are, and
what we do.
Finally, as you can see in our updated news story
on another page in this issue, Mr. Kelley has chosen
to conceal the truth from SFGN.
While he did not defend the case, he is now
nevertheless desperately trying to overturn the
verdict, ironically telling the court he was not
properly noticed about the court’s proceedings.
It will be very interesting to see how he reconciles
the inconsistencies between what he is telling the
court and what he told our reporters.
By mike luckovich
where voices Get heard
the ‘sCandal’ at sCandal’s
See updated news story on page 4.
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