An Upper West Side Trump supporter is contemplating legal action against the sports bar Jake's Dilemma, after he claims he was kicked out of the Amsterdam Avenue location for wearing a red MAGA visor last week.
Dion Cini, a 50-year-old conservative activist known for various pro-Trump publicity stunts, says he was enjoying an order of fish n' chips at the college-friendly watering hole last Wednesday when he was abruptly bounced by two of the bar's employees. Cini captured much of the ensuing confrontation on video, in which he can be heard repeatedly calling the bartender a "soy boy," asking him if he hates America, and pleading with the security guard to let him stay.
Reached for comment on Monday, Cini said that he'd been patronizing the bar in his red visor for years, and was under the impression that Jake's Dilemma—which shares an owner with the 13th Step, Off The Wagon and half a dozen other bro-centric bars across the city—was operated by Trump supporters.
He added that he'd spoken to lawyers this week about bringing a lawsuit against the bar for the alleged mistreatment. A similar lawsuit filed by a MAGA-hat wearer against an allegedly discriminatory bar in the West Village was tossed last year by a judge, who ruled that loving President Trump was not a religion. But this case would be different, Cini says, because the staff did not permit him to finish his meal and the bartender took a swipe at his phone.
The MAGA visor in question (via Facebook)
Also unlike the West Village incident, the owners of Jake's Dilemma appear to be publicly siding with the throngs of outraged conservatives alleging discrimination online. On Saturday, the bar posted an apology on their Facebook page, in which they blamed the employee who "took it upon himself to wrongly promote his political views." The statement noted that the bartender would be disciplined and would not be permitted to return to work until he completed a training program.
Mitch Banchik, a co-owner of Jake's Dilemma, confirmed to Gothamist on Monday that the bartender in the video had received a two week suspension. "We contemplated firing him, but didn't think it warranted that," Banchik said.
Still, the owner freely admits that his employee did not do much wrong, and that the fallout from the incident was likely exactly what Cini had wanted. "The guy was actually being really obnoxious before the bartender did anything, and was given several warnings," said Banchik. "He instigated it and said it was because of his hat...he was looking for this sort of scenario."
Asked what prompted the suspension, the owner said the bar was "being unfairly treated" by the public, adding that the employee shouldn't have made any comment about the man's hat. In the video, the bartender can be heard saying, "I don't like red hats, I only like green ones"—an apparent reference to his own Jets cap.
After Cini refused to leave the pub on his own, he demanded the bar staff call the 20th precinct—"I know them very well," he said—which the bartender did. Police arrived shortly after and, Cini claims, offered him a solidarity handshake.
"They weren't happy about what happened at the bar," Cini said of the cops. "They shook my hand and sent me on my way. I know a lot of police officers in the 20th precinct; They follow me on Facebook because of all the Trump stuff I do. It's friendly."
As for whether he'd consider going back to Jake's Dilemma, Cini said "it's doubtful," but not impossible. The owner, meanwhile, says the conservative activist is "welcome back any time, as long as he behaves himself."
We were unable to reach the bartender, but we'll update if that changes.