Anyone who’s ever wanted to go bowling, shoot pool, play laser tag or indulge in any of the various games usually involved at those popular sprawling entertainment centers knows they can be hectic and busy and filled with the shouts of small children running under foot. But doesn’t everyone have the same right to have a fun time? A gay couple in Texas says they were asked to leave a family entertainment center because as two men, a manager allegedly said they’re “not a family.”
Here’s how it went down, according to the Dallas Voice: The two men went to the center, run by Main Event Entertainment, to go bowling on a Sunday night. Their lane had technical problems so they asked if they could move to a new lane. Their next lane featured a child from a nearby group who apparently hijacked their lane, so they asked to be moved again.
The men said the manager seemed a bit cranky at having the men ask to be moved again, and asked if they were professional bowlers. Well, no, replied the couple (as if professional bowlers don’t have super secret cool bowling places to go to where they can hone their craft in peace). He then reportedly said the venue was a family environment, at which point one of the men said he was with his family, and pointed at his partner.
According to the couple’s version of events, the manager wasn’t down with that and refused to move them to another lane, saying they “were not family.” Instead he said he’d rather refund them their game, and asked them to leave.
“He didn’t want to resolve it with us. … Instead of acknowledging that two men are here together, they just asked us to leave,” said one of the men.
When the couple called to complain, they say the manager wouldn’t talk to them and the person who’d answered the call said the incident had never happened.
Main Event’s marketing director says the company will speak with the couple, adding that the company takes “any guest complaints, issues and feedback very seriously.”
The company’s nondiscrimination policy reads:
We at Main Event Entertainment embrace all cultures and pride ourselves on providing an exceptional EAT.BOWL.PLAY experience to all of our guests no matter what their age, race, color, religion, sex, sexual preference or national origin.
Our foremost concern is that ALL our guests are treated with respect and with care in each of our centers and that each guest’s experience is one that reflects our mission of fun.
On the rare occasion of guest complaints due to our service or employee actions, Main Event management is committed to full investigation and corrective actions that ensure we maintain a welcoming and safe place for all our community and every family to enjoy.
The men say they just want an apology and for this kind of experience to be something that never happens again.
“Our goal is to hopefully bring awareness to all communities that there should be zero tolerance for any kind of prejudice based on same-sex relationships, multi-racial or otherwise,” said one of the men. “To be told we are ‘not family’ is inexcusable. All we are seeking is an apology for the abrupt and rude communication from management and other parties involved.”