I was fired for supporting Trump, says former WeHo Bistro server in lawsuit

A supporter of former President Trump is suing a West Hollywood eatery, alleging he was forced to quit his job there in 2020 after the liberal-leaning owner repeatedly harassed him because of the plaintiff’s political views.

Plaintiff Joseph Bliven, a heterosexual, also maintains he was subjected to repeated sexual advances by co-workers and customers at WeHo Bistro and told when he complained that he should just get used to it because that was how things were in West Hollywood.

Bliven’s Los Angeles Superior Court lawsuit against the restaurant and its owner, Jeff Douek, alleges wrongful termination, discrimination based upon political affiliation and exercise of protected rights, sexual orientation harassment and failure to prevent harassment.

Bliven seeks unspecified compensatory and punitive damages in the suit brought Tuesday. Douek could not be immediately reached.

Bliven was hired as a server at the La Cienega Boulevard restaurant in 2013, excelled in his position and was well liked by customers, according to his suit. He is politically conservative and identifies as a Republican, in contrast to Douek, a liberal Democrat, the suit states.

“Douek was vocal with employees and customers about his support for the Democratic party and his disdain for President Donald Trump and the Republican party,” the suit states.

In February 2016,Douek opened a bottle of champagne with customers and staff at WeHo Bistro to celebrate Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia’s death, the suit states.

After Trump become a front contender for the Republican nomination in the 2016 presidential election, Douek began fostering a work environment at WeHo Bistro where employees were bullied, shamed and targeted if they held or expressed political beliefs different from Douek, the suit alleges.

Douek kept a toilet brush in the restaurant bathroom which had a doll replica of Trump on it, and the orange bristles of the were meant to be Trump’s hair, the suit states.

After Bliven told Douek in response to a question from the owner that he liked Trump, “a shift took place in Douek’s demeanor towards Bliven” as the owner began acting hostile toward the plaintiff in an effort to “bully, shame and intimidate” Bliven because of his political beliefs, the suit states.

Douek once brought red hats to the eatery bearing a progressive slogan using words that made fun of Trump’s “Make America Great Again” slogan, the suit states.

Douek wanted to take a photo of the staff members wearing the hats and told Bliven to put the hat on and get in the photo, but the plaintiff refused and took the photo of the other staff members wearing the hat instead, the suit states.

Douek also pressured Bliven to tell him whether he believed in the existence of the “deep state,” and the owner told the plaintiff last October that he thought it was funny that Trump had become sick with the coronavirus, the suit states.

“Douek told Bliven he hoped the president died from the disease,” the suit states. “Douek then began laughing.”

Douek once asked Bliven if he was a member of the Proud Boys and the plaintiff replied that he was not, the suit states.

“Bliven was offended by the constant taunting and stereotyping based on his political beliefs and affiliation,” the suit states.

Bliven returned from a trip to Florida last November and Douek told him he could not resume working until he took a coronavirus test, a requirement not made of other employees who had traveled outside the state, the suit states.

“Bliven was being singled out to take a COVID-19 test purely because of his political affiliation,” the suit states.

The plaintiff was forced to quit given that he could only return to work by complying with Douek’s discriminatory demands, the suit states.

During Bliven’s employment, the heterosexual plaintiff was subjected to harassment in the workplace due to his sexual orientation by co-workers and customers who told subjected him to unwanted sexual advances, the suit states.

When Bliven complained to Douek and other supervisors at WeHo Bistro, they old him that was “simply the way things were in West Hollywood and Bliven better just get used to it,” according to the suit.

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Johnny
Johnny
6 months ago

As someone who has had 50 to 100 employees we never tolerated and always brought in HR and a third party to investigate harassment issues and we never allowed any group discussions on partisan issues due to it being counter productive to being at the worksite. It’s a litigious state and I suspect the employers insurance will settle out of court. Employees must all be treated equally and if you single out one with a job description equal to others and treat that one differently you will lose. It’s easy to win these regardless of partisan politics which has no… Read more »

WehoFan
WehoFan
6 months ago

The older Weho crowd is still trying to fight culture wars from the ‘80s. They are incapable of change.

JJ1
JJ1
6 months ago

Please take Trump out of the equation. It doesn’t matter what political candidate the employer supports is or what candidate the employee supports. Fact of the matter is, an employee’s work environment should not be made more unpleasant because of which candidate is supported. Harassment in the work place is wrong and it’s against the law. PERIOD. All this other nonsense is totally BS.

Last edited 6 months ago by JJ1
Frank
Frank
6 months ago

Douek should proudly plead guilty. I would.

JJ1
JJ1
6 months ago
Reply to  Frank

And it’s people like you that cause a great divide in this country. Grow the hell up.

Last edited 6 months ago by JJ1
WehoFan
WehoFan
6 months ago
Reply to  Frank

You bully employees as well?

Waide Riddle
6 months ago

Just another Hollywood Victim! Boo-Hoo! Joining the ranks of other actors and actresses that want to tell “their truth.” The answer is directly in the story: Looking for monetary compensation. Does that include a book deal, a movie deal?
Mr. Bliven worked in a Gay establishment. If you can’t handle working in a Gay establishment when you’re straight, then don’t work there. Don’t blame the Gays.

JJ1
JJ1
6 months ago
Reply to  Waide Riddle

Ridiculous. Should a woman working with a male majority clientele put up with being harassed. Please. What year are you living in?

Last edited 6 months ago by JJ1
Waide Riddle
6 months ago
Reply to  JJ1

BOO! HOO! Here’s a tissue.

Last edited 6 months ago by Waide Riddle
JJ1
JJ1
6 months ago
Reply to  Waide Riddle

Judging from your latest comment, you’re living in a world pre-1970s. Wake up, the world has spun around a few times since then. We don’t put up with behavior like that anymore in the work place. Keep your tissue.

WehoFan
WehoFan
6 months ago
Reply to  Waide Riddle

You are so angry Waide.

Reality
Reality
6 months ago
Reply to  JJ1

It has a lot to do with deciding when to stay and when to leave. One always has choices and why demean one’s dignity by staying in an intolerable situation.

JJ1
JJ1
6 months ago
Reply to  Reality

And that why the guy left. But it doesn’t mean that the wrong should go unchallenged. That’s how things change for the better.

WehoFan
WehoFan
6 months ago
Reply to  Waide Riddle

The employee should not have been bullied over his political beliefs.

Cy Husain
6 months ago

This sounds like a planted story attempting to gain sympathy for the Trump/QuackAnon LOST cause❗🤣 Now when I want to have fun I apply for federal law enforcement positions and when they ask about possible affiliations with terrorist groups, I ask for letters of recommendation so I can apply for those positions as well to hedge my bets.😁

Graham
Graham
6 months ago
Reply to  Cy Husain

Just write down BLM.. that’s a big terrorist group.

Cy Husain
6 months ago
Reply to  Graham

NO, more like Black Lives Matter is a great LIBERATION movement and, had a great time at the Black Lives Matter LA marches to defund the REAL terrorists in law enforcement ❗ ✊🏽

No, No, No
No, No, No
6 months ago

What an unfortunate and revealing conversation here which shows dismal attitudes at their lowest. If you don’t appreciate someone, their beliefs, political affiliations, race, color or whatever, it’s simple to be cordial, do not get involved and move on. The disrespectful and hateful attitudes sent to others comes back to you and shows you to be a person of little to no value, one that fails to respect themself. You are clearly asking for trouble.

It really is disgusting human behavior in a city that thinks of itself as the paragon of virtue.

WeHoMikey
WeHoMikey
6 months ago

Oh please, Mary. If your boss can’t stand to see your face one more day, you don’t have any right to continued employment. Even Trumpsters understand “right to work” laws.

WehoFan
WehoFan
6 months ago
Reply to  WeHoMikey

The employee was bullied for having different political views. You should be supporting him.

Steve Carry
Steve Carry
6 months ago

Is it free speech or not? And sexual harrsment is harrsment. If the shoe were on the other foot Liberals would be crying their eyes out. No dear, this is not how things are done in WH.

JJ1
JJ1
6 months ago
Reply to  Steve Carry

This is truth.

Martin P.
Martin P.
6 months ago

The elephant in the room, here, that needs to be addressed, is that Trumpism isn’t the same thing as being conservative or liberal. It’s an existential danger to the entire country and support of this guy is not the usual “difference of opinion” that many Trumpists want you to believe. That was the genius of Trump in 2016, getting people to believe that he and Hillary were equal in some measure, even if it was equally bad. There’s no way that Trump should ever been raised to an equal footing with any politician. Trumpism has the Republican party trying to… Read more »

J cross
J cross
6 months ago
Reply to  Martin P.

Wow, you sound like a alt far left dangerous extremist. Wokism is far greater threat than anything. You hate a stranger, cool. Liberalism needs to be fought against sand stamped out. Your 40 state comment is a blatant lie as well.

Martin P.
Martin P.
6 months ago
Reply to  J cross

Yes, I was wrong. It’s 43 states.

At least 250 new laws have been proposed in 43 states to limit mail, early in-person and Election Day voting. Read for yourself:
https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/interactive/2021/voting-restrictions-republicans-states/

And FYI: I’m pretty conservative. And I don’t hate. I don’t believe in us against them, either, as we’re all in this together, If you think “I” am an extremist, just what do you think is going on in the Republican party? Normalcy? I may sound strident but wake up people.

Last edited 6 months ago by Martin P.
Taylor
Taylor
6 months ago
Reply to  Martin P.

I would like know why Trump triggers people so much to the point that they sound insane.

Martin P.
Martin P.
6 months ago
Reply to  Taylor

The question is not why does Trump trigger people so much that they sound insane, the question is “Why don’t Trump supporters see just exactly how insane he is and his followers are becoming and don’t want to rebuke that?”

JJ1
JJ1
6 months ago
Reply to  Taylor

Because there are extremists on both sides of the political divide.

Martin P.
Martin P.
6 months ago
Reply to  JJ1

It is not extreme to be against an abnormal and extremely corrupt person like Trump. It’s common sense.

JJ1
JJ1
6 months ago
Reply to  Martin P.

Disavowing someone you despise is one thing. Some lost their minds with Trump and acted just as bad as he did and neither side saw how poorly they acted. Sad.

Martin P.
Martin P.
6 months ago
Reply to  JJ1

Not everything is equal. There is no “equal on both sides” when it comes to Trumpism.

Gimmeabreak
Gimmeabreak
6 months ago
Reply to  Martin P.

What exactly did Trump do that you hate him so much? I don’t get it!

Martin P.
Martin P.
6 months ago
Reply to  Gimmeabreak

The fact that historians have just ranked him as the 4th from the bottom of the worst Presidents ever, should give you some idea.

Graham
Graham
6 months ago
Reply to  Martin P.

Liberalism Rise in crime, violence, homelessness, oppression, suppression of the 1st and 2nd Amendment, critical racism theory, the “everything about me is fake but I’m perfect” party. Russia gate a lie, criminal probes a fraud. Every gay man I know that voted for Biden also spends 50% of their lives in bath houses. Nobody wants what you have.

Martin P.
Martin P.
6 months ago
Reply to  Graham

Fox gets to lie to its viewers under the guys of being “opinion journalists” under the 1st Amendment. Are you personally homeless or oppressed? Last I looked guns are more plentiful than brains in this country and the other things you cite as lies are not. Russia gate: For one, it’s not a lie that Trump’s campaign manager, Paul Manafort, gave his associate, Konstantin Kilimnik, a Russian and Ukraine political operative, sensitive information on polling and campaign strategy in an effort to influence the 2016 election. Kilimnik is a known agent for Russian intelligence services. Criminal probes a fraud: I’ll… Read more »

Gimmeabreak
Gimmeabreak
6 months ago
Reply to  Martin P.

I don’t even know where to begin with you so I will limit my response to the one thing I CANNOT overlook; rather than writing “under the guys …”, consider “under the guise …” and you might come out of this absurdity you’re spouting with maybe an ounce of credibility.

Martin P.
Martin P.
6 months ago
Reply to  Gimmeabreak

Why don’t you tell me what’s absurd or not credible instead of correcting a spelling error I made? Otherwise, who cares? People only resort to correcting grammar and spelling mistakes when they have nothing else to offer.

Gimmeabreak
Gimmeabreak
6 months ago
Reply to  Martin P.

What I have to offer would take quite a while to write and may be more than can be published here. But more than that, it has been my experience that what I see in you is someone who cannot be taught. There is no amount of evidence that could be presented that would change your opinion one bit, which means I would have wasted my time. You are emotionally vested in your opinion on this topic and that *trumps* logic. You wouldn’t absorb a word I would have to say. So why would I bother?

Martin P.
Martin P.
6 months ago
Reply to  Gimmeabreak

I gave one factual example of each of the things in response to the person’s post I answered. Those facts are not “opinions”, as you keep stating. If you have other facts to disprove them, I’m willing to hear them. So far, you’ve really said nothing.

Gimmeabreak
Gimmeabreak
6 months ago
Reply to  Martin P.

You gave your conclusions based on incomplete information and, no, you would not be willing to hear anything other than what you already believe. I’ve already given you more of my time than is deserving of this discussion.

Martin P.
Martin P.
6 months ago
Reply to  Gimmeabreak

Saying repeatedly that “you (I) would not be willing to hear anything other than what you already believe,” is just a tactic to make it appear you are right without answering what someone else has said. To make it seem like someone else is wrong, if only they had the facts you do. I purposely ran what I wrote through factcheck.org before I wrote it, just so I could answer any post like this one if necessary. You are just doing what many have been doing for years, giving nebulous responses without any substance or just saying it would be… Read more »

Gimmeabreak
Gimmeabreak
6 months ago
Reply to  Martin P.

factcheck.org has been widely discredited.

I’ve dealt with people like you before. It has always been a waste of my time.

Martin P.
Martin P.
6 months ago
Reply to  Gimmeabreak

What is your source for factcheck.org being widely discredited?

Jason
Jason
6 months ago

Ok so what heterosexual man goes to work at that diner of all places and then complains he got hit on?! That is the definition of a snowflake! That diner is one step away from the sleazy motel next door. Come on now!

WehoFan
WehoFan
6 months ago
Reply to  Jason

What year do you live in? Stop stereotyping the weho community.

Brian Casey
Brian Casey
6 months ago

If a gay man had made the same complaint, the sky would be full of the sound of right-wingers screaming “snowflake!!!!”

J cross
J cross
6 months ago
Reply to  Brian Casey

Probably but does that excuse left wingers doing the same exact thing all the time?

Who started all of this politicians are more important than anyone else, when these people who obsess with them aren’t even in the political industry?!

WehoFan
WehoFan
6 months ago
Reply to  Brian Casey

The employee did not deserve to be bullied for his political beliefs.

JJ1
JJ1
6 months ago
Reply to  WehoFan

And if proven to be true, the law will come decide in his favor, as it should.

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