Discrimination | News | Seattle

Seattle's 'Great Wheel' Challenges Claim Gay Man Was Kicked Off Ride for Holding Hands and Kissing

Seattle resident Jason Jacobs says he and his boyfriend were kicked off Seattle's new tourist attraction, the Great Wheel, for holding hands and kissing on the ride:

JacobsTo my friends in Seattle and elsewhere, You should know if you are gay you run the risk of being bullied, harassed, and denied to ride The Seattle Great Wheel. Last night after paying $50 per person to ride on the VIP car, and waiting for over an hour, my date and i were asked, more like escorted, off the ride. They demanded the tshirts you get when paying to ride in the VIP car, refunded the tickets, then walked us off the property. This this happened only after my date and i held hands getting on the ride, sat down in the car and shared a little kiss. This isn't how Seattle normally treats people. We don't want this attraction and the Managment to give Seattle a bad reputation. Boycott The Seattle Great Wheel & make a call to action and help get some media attention to address this act of discrimination in our community.

The Seattle Great Wheel fired back on its Facebook page, claiming Jacobs and his companion were being unruly:

The Seattle Great Wheel welcomes people from all different backgrounds and lifestyles. We have never and will never discriminate against someone based on race, religion, sexual orientation or ethnicity. We do, however, reserve the right to refuse service to anyone who fails to cooperate with our safety guidelines and rules. We love and look forward to serving everyone who wants to enjoy the Seattle Great Wheel.

The allegations against the Seattle Great Wheel are totally false. Our company has a long history of serving and employing members of the GBLT community and we are deeply saddened that we are being labeled as homophobic. The two individuals were asked to leave because of their behavior, which included putting their shoes on the leather seats and acting disrespectfully and unruly to our staff. Their behavior delayed the operation of the wheel for several minutes, disrupting the ride for our other passengers. We politely asked them to leave after they refused to cooperate, and they were given a full refund. Our staff was unaware of their sexual orientation and that played no role in their being asked to leave. We look forward to having everyone ride the wheel, including our friends in Seattle's GBLT community.

According to KIRO, Jacobs was refunded his money for the ride, but wants "an apology and more sensitivity training for the staff."

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  1. I'm going with the wheel on this one.

    Posted by: Mike | Aug 8, 2012 10:53:49 AM

  2. "lifestyles"?! Ugh.

    Posted by: MARCUS BACHMANN | Aug 8, 2012 10:54:59 AM

  3. Mike, I was thinking the same thing.

    Posted by: Butch | Aug 8, 2012 10:59:19 AM

  4. Mike.......me too.

    Posted by: John | Aug 8, 2012 10:59:21 AM

  5. Maybe the wheel people got a point. Homophobes would have a hard time using the words "our friends in Seattle's GBLT community", especially in a press release. The lifestyle quote shows that this was written by a hetero, however.

    Posted by: Chris | Aug 8, 2012 11:03:09 AM

  6. throwing a temper tantrum at chick-fil-a, fabricating stories about discrimination, and viciously attacking religion does nothing to help our work to gain more rights.

    Posted by: James | Aug 8, 2012 11:14:33 AM

  7. throwing a temper tantrum at chick-fil-a, fabricating stories about discrimination, and viciously attacking religion does nothing to help our work to gain more rights.

    Posted by: James | Aug 8, 2012 11:14:35 AM

  8. Ferris wheels are tortuous, and anyone who would pay $50 to ride one---much less wait an hour to do so---is insane.

    This isn't looking so good on the heels of the Missoula fiasco. I got strangled, mugged, and beaten in SF while being called fag and the police didn't press hate crime charges despite 7 felony and 12 misdemeanor charges that also went nowhere.

    These guys think they truly suffered? F them. They got their money back for what sounds like dubious behavior. Paying for VIP passes doesn't mean that you're special.

    Posted by: Paul R | Aug 8, 2012 11:16:21 AM

  9. I think the wheel folks might be right here. Does Jason Jacobs know that guy who did an unsuccessful back-flip and then claimed gay bashing?

    Posted by: Kevin | Aug 8, 2012 11:17:26 AM

  10. Oh please. A pair of pissy queens wouldn't comply with directions because they considered themselves A listers because they paid extra for a fancy car on the ride - they need to get over themselves.

    Posted by: Dave | Aug 8, 2012 11:18:02 AM

  11. By the way, lifestyle isn't a bad word. My lifestyle is quite different from those of my straight brothers. Theirs are painfully boring, filled with mundanity. Mine is not. What about life and style are offensive? Sure, that absurd term deathstyle is offensive. But live life.

    Posted by: Paul R | Aug 8, 2012 11:22:06 AM

  12. I'm also going with The Wheel on this one. Sounds like two very belligerent, probably drunk (or drugged) queens. Yeah, queers can be @$$holes, too, y'all.

    Posted by: jamal49 | Aug 8, 2012 11:23:40 AM

  13. Touche!! Ugh I can only imagine the rude, catty, disrespectful queens who started this. Makes my skin crawl.

    Posted by: Mike C. | Aug 8, 2012 11:24:25 AM

  14. One more for The Wheel.

    Posted by: Perry | Aug 8, 2012 11:30:56 AM

  15. From his Facebook photos Jason Jacobs looks like a complete disaster. I'm going with the wheel.

    Posted by: busytimmy | Aug 8, 2012 11:40:40 AM

  16. I have the displeasure of knowing Jacobs. Had a terrible experience subletting my place to him this year during my move to L.A. He refused to pay rent, destroyed my property, and harassed neighbors. Needless to say I'm going to side side with the Ferris wheel. This is so disrespectful to the company and a city which is lucky to be so progressive.

    Posted by: Richard | Aug 8, 2012 11:41:17 AM

  17. Can we not give this petulant little drama queen anymore column inches.

    Posted by: Kenn I | Aug 8, 2012 11:48:47 AM

  18. My boyfriend and I rode the Great Wheel the week it opened. You don't have to spend much time with us to realize that we're a couple. We were treated with respect by the staff. There are rules, of course, and they are posted in the cars. We switched sides a couple times and sat with each other rather than ride facing each other. I don't recall if we held hands or not, but I can tell you that I've seen so many same sex couples hold hands downtown that it doesn't register with me anymore.

    It was a blast! It's right on our waterfront and the views of downtown and the Olympics were spectacular. I can't wait to ride it again.

    Posted by: pParkerT | Aug 8, 2012 11:48:50 AM

  19. I've seen people of all stripes act arrogantly and do things like putting their feet on the seats, etc. I also know some gay guys, not many, but some, who are all about conflict and in-your-face sass. I also know a 14 year old gay boy who is a terror to be around... completely selfish and self-involved. He has NO respect for anyone, least of all his parents. Not that his parents are helping him get over his obsession with himself.
    Anyhow, I'm also with the Wheel on this one.

    Posted by: dancobbb | Aug 8, 2012 12:00:54 PM

  20. I'm siding with Jacobs on this one (funny how so many are so quick to jump to the Wheel's defense).

    If they were kicked off for being unruly and rude, why did they get a refund?

    Posted by: Philip Wester | Aug 8, 2012 12:01:23 PM

  21. @Philip Webster -- if the fair gives these two a refund, then they can kick them off the property for trespassing since they are no longer obligated to provide a paid-for service. Its the same reasoning used in restaurants and bars when patrons become disorderly or complain about things that aren't actually problems. Even if the restaurant did nothing wrong, giving the patron their money back or saying "its on the house" gives the proprietor the ability to remove them from the premises.

    Posted by: NaughtyLola | Aug 8, 2012 12:44:45 PM

  22. What the hell is a "lifestyle?" I don't have a "lifestyle", and no one I know anyone, gay or straight, who has anything called a "lifestyle." Do straight people have "lifestyles?"

    Posted by: dh | Aug 8, 2012 12:51:29 PM

  23. I live in Seattle and I know Jason. I'm siding with the Great Wheel team. I have no doubt he was asked to leave, but I don't think it was because of holding hands.

    Posted by: Dave | Aug 8, 2012 1:02:17 PM

  24. Here's another Seattle vote for the Wheel. This guy sounds like a drama mama.

    Posted by: Seattle Mike | Aug 8, 2012 1:07:11 PM

  25. The use of "lifestyle" was a mistake. But to the commenter above who suggested that the press release refer to the "GLBT community," I'd say that is just as bad. Equating gay men with transsexuals is just as much of 1960s stereotype as is the belief that being gay is a "lifestyle."

    They are talking here about a gay couple so they should have just said that they don't discriminate against gay people.

    Posted by: Robert | Aug 8, 2012 1:07:47 PM

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