Yesterday, we heard about a lesbian bride-to-be who was scolded, and then turned away, from a bridal shop in New Jersey because of her sexuality. The story inspired outrage and vitriol toward the bridal shop across the internet, but nowhere more pervasive than on the Here Comes The Bride Yelp page, where around 400 people have posted negative reviews in the last day, with such gems as: "Therefore, myself, an American that believes in the right of everyone to live a life free of inequalities, I will never ever without a gun to my head step foot through your threshold...unless I'm a zombie and if that happens, I'm coming for your brains first."
Alix Genter, who is set to marry her longtime partner in NY next year, had picked out a dress at Here Comes The Bride when manager Donna Saber found out she was gay— because she'd crossed out the word "groom" and written "partner" instead on the paperwork, and Saber called that a "provocation"—and refused to sell her the dress. Saber said what Genter was planning was "illegal" and that "we do not participate in any illegal actions."
"I was devastated. I was crying. I called her a bigot; I told her, 'I am a happy person and you are a miserable person.' Then she hung up on me," Genter said. According to the N.J. Law Against Discrimination, it is unlawful for a person to refuse to buy from, sell to, contract or otherwise do business with an individual because of the individual's affectional or sexual orientation.
And now, outraged commenters who read the story have taken to the Yelp page to malign the shop. "So, according to your actual customers - you're a pushy, overpriced scam artist with poor social skills who can't even do measuring and alterations properly - AND you're a homophobe. Kind of impressive, actually," said Althea A. "If they were GIVING the dresses away, I still wouldn't want to be associated with the actions of Donna, the homophobic manager who refused to sell a dress to a gay customer," said Anne L. People have also added over 20 pictures of gay flags, gay couples, and other gay imagery.
But as Cnet points out, the reviews probably won't be up for much longer. Yelp's Chantelle Karl told them: "While Yelp does not support any sort of discrimination, reviews of businesses on Yelp should be about the customer experience not the views of a business or its employees...As is our normal procedure, we'll be working to pull these reviews and notify the reviewers in the coming days." Commenter Jeff B. asked them to reconsider though: "I urge you to take exception in this instance, as bigotry is something that affects EVERYONE and, because our concerns are based on real-life events, I believe the Yelp community should be allowed to participate in this form of boycott."
The cherry on top of all this? Because of the inundation of negative Yelp reviews, Saber has reportedly agreed to meet with the bride's parents “to try to smooth things over.” She might want to leave out that bit about how she "sensed" Genter's father's disappointment in her decision to marry a woman.