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."

Comments

  1. Chris says

    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.

  2. James says

    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.

  3. James says

    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.

  4. Paul R says

    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.

  5. Kevin says

    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?

  6. Dave says

    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.

  7. Paul R says

    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.

  8. jamal49 says

    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.

  9. Mike C. says

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

  10. busytimmy says

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

  11. Richard says

    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.

  12. pParkerT says

    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.

  13. dancobbb says

    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.

  14. Philip Wester says

    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?

  15. NaughtyLola says

    @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.

  16. dh says

    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?”

  17. Dave says

    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.

  18. Seattle Mike says

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

  19. Robert says

    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.

  20. Paul R says

    @DH: What do you think that lifestyle means? It’s how you live your life. Stop taking offense to normal words.

  21. nikko says

    I would not hesitate to put rude drama queens in their place as customers. I’ve met a few.

  22. R. says

    Sorry to say, but from my own personal experience, it’s hard to believe anything that Jason says.

  23. PDX Guy says

    Another vote for the Wheel staff. Sounds like someone took the “VIP” status way too far.

    And people object to the “lifestyle” term because it is often used with the argument that being gay is a choice. I do think a lot of people just don’t know better when they say that. But a sexual orientation is not a “lifestyle” and never will be.

  24. jdawg says

    A follow up to this story posted in SeattleGayScene (for those not in S-town), a drag queen (*Mama Tits) took her entourage for a follow-up visit yesterday and experienced no homophobia whatsoever. Don’t know the guy personally, but I’m with the Wheel on this one.

  25. jack says

    Witnessing OBNOXIOUS people of ALL orientations constantly…I’m with The Wheel on this one too.

  26. says

    I can’t believe no one picked up the Wheel’s LGBT acronym mixup. They said “GLBT” twice in their release. Forget the word “lifestyle” —what’s a Gay BLT?

    I’ll agree with PDX Guy, too. When someone uses lifestyle in reference to sexuality, it makes my skin crawl. Outside of that, WE ALL HAVE A LIFESTYLE. Just a word, kids.

  27. Icebloo says

    This is obviously a lie by the company. If the guys were holding hands then how can they claim their staff didn’t know they were gay ?

    Also, if they were being rude and unruly why were they given a refund ?

    I believe the gays in this story. The wheel company is now trying to avoid the bad publicity associated with it’s homo hating staff.

    I hope more people boycott this over-hyped wheel ride. I mean, $50 just for that ??!!

  28. CHUCK says

    It amazes me how everyone is so quick to jump behind one side or the other when its impossible for any of us to know exactly what happened here. The Wheel’s PR folks put together a good response but they did so without speaking to the customers and have refused on camera interviews with both TV stations that ran a report (Q13 and KIRO TV). What we do know is that there was a heated exchange where both sides may have been less than polite and in the end (according to Jacobs) he said we don’t need “your kind.” If that in fact happened, then that’s pretty clearly an anti-gay statement.

  29. CHUCK says

    It amazes me how everyone is so quick to jump behind one side or the other when its impossible for any of us to know exactly what happened here. The Wheel’s PR folks put together a good response but they did so without speaking to the customers and have refused on camera interviews with both TV stations that ran a report (Q13 and KIRO TV). What we do know is that there was a heated exchange where both sides may have been less than polite and in the end (according to Jacobs) he said we don’t need “your kind.” If that in fact happened, then that’s pretty clearly an anti-gay statement.

  30. Philip Wester says

    @NaughtyLola: I did not know that. Well, I’m on the Wheel’s side then, judging by all of additional information gleaned since I first read about this story.

    They shouldn’t have used the word “lifestyle”, but that’s pretty much where their culpability ended.

  31. Alan F. says

    The management of the wheel was not truthful in their statement when they said they did not know the sexual orientation of the two men. According to the 10 minute story on Kiro radio, the guys were holding hands and enjoying a conversation with a pilot and his wife prior to getting on the ride. Let’s not jump behind the wheel too quick. I’m with the gay couple.

  32. Leonard says

    First, who pays $50 to ride a Ferris Wheel (or fairy wheel)? :) On a serious note, even if the gay couple was rude, why would they throw them off for putting their feet on the seats? I’m not buying the Wheel’s story. I’m going with Jacobs.

  33. Frank says

    I’m with the wheel. I heard it was a lot more than a small kiss and holding hands that got them in trouble.

  34. Lance says

    It’s not “edgy” nor “unique” to immediately take the side against a gay couple, I’m sorry to say.

  35. BottomDrawer Guy says

    No doubt that both sides probably can share the blame in the heat of the moment. But it takelos great deal of courage to go on TV in front of a camera and defend yourself when you have been discriminated against. Jason had done this and he might be somewhat in the wrong but I doubt he would go to all that trouble if there wasn’t some truth to his claims. Folks, let’s show some respect to the gays and thank them for the courage to stand up for the rest of us. Thanks Jason.

  36. Duct T. says

    One more vote for the gayboys. Please treat the gaysboys. Not believin the homophobic employee.

  37. Safesurge says

    I agree with you “bottomdrawer guy”, there are always two sides to a story. However, it seems unlikely to me that someone would make a serious post knowing there would be plenty of commentary unless there was some level of truth regarding the incident. And, for all those calling “gay” a lifestyle need a bit of education. Sure, there are people that experiment sexually, but if you are truly LGBTQ it wasn’t a choice it is your life, you were born just as you are. Bless you Jacobs for standing up even when it means you will be challenged!!!

  38. BOTTOMDRAWER GUY says

    The gay couple has been on TV but the Wheel management has been curiously absent. If they are so sure there was no wrong doing on their then maybe they should stop hiding behind their Facebook post and make a live statement.

  39. Safesurge says

    And yet again, “BOTTOMDRAWER GUY”, I agree with you. If they have nothing to hide then the owners/operators of SGW should be courageous enough to go on camera and make their statement. I’ve been in business for far too many years to know that when a company is falsely accused of something they are quick to get on the air and defend their position. It seems strangely curious the only comments from the owner/operators has been on Facebook. If they believe they were doing the right thing , then why be afraid of talking to the press???

  40. EndUp Dive says

    JASON!! THANKS FOR HAVING THE COURAGE TO STAND UP FOR ALL OF US. I DON’T KNOW YOU BUT I LOVE YOU.

  41. PDX Guy says

    I see the perpetrator or his cronies have shown up here suddenly to try to spin the story in his direction.

  42. andrew says

    Sounds to this gay guy like a couple more queers claiming discrimination based on sexual orientation for fame or fortune. They are like women who falsely claim rape. They do more harm to victims of genuine discrimination and rape than do the real aggressors. But I guess there are enough knee jerks who automatically believe their story that it makes it worth a try.

  43. Francis says

    As with most stories of this nature, the truth is probably in the middle. What I read this guy Jason did and what he said he did with his boyfriend are definitely two different things, but Great Wheel staff also did not handle the incident appropriately.