Honolulu LGBTQ nightclub files federal discrimination complaint

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HONOLULU (AP) – A federal lawsuit claims the Honolulu Liquor Commission and the state Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs are discriminating against an LGBTQ nightclub in Honolulu and its community.

The owners of Scarlet Honolulu nightclub said in the lawsuit filed Monday that agency investigators had a history of harassment and discrimination against the company and employees.

The lawsuit named four specific investigators who allegedly targeted the nightclub for inspections and unfounded violations.

In one case, according to the lawsuit, an investigator assaulted nightclub security personnel and an owner.


The lawsuit was filed jointly by the nightclub and Gay Island Guide, an online magazine. The lawsuit says the magazine ran an article about the assault naming inspectors in charge of the case. The lawsuit says the same investigators then shut down an event organized by the publication.

The lawsuit said the club was disproportionately inspected more often than other clubs not associated with the LGBTQ community.

The Honolulu Liquor Commission did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The state attorney general’s office said he had not been served with the complaint and had not reviewed the lawsuit.

A spokesperson for Honolulu mayor Rick Blangiardi said the office was working on a response.


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