Gay Man Sues America’s Cup for Wrongful Termination, Says Officials Mocked His Sexuality

Larry Jacobson, a motivational speaker and gay former America's Cup employee, is suing the yacht race for wrongful termination stemming from a few incidents in which he was subjected to harassment because he is gay, according to a report on the suit in the Bay Area Reporter:

JacobsonIn his civil complaint filed March 13 in San Francisco Superior Court, Larry Jacobson, who worked as a VIP spectator boat captain during the races last summer, says one man made a limp wrist gesture at him, while another called him a "poof," a derogatory term for homosexual.

However, a former supervisor told the Bay Area Reporter that Jacobson had "pushed his sexuality very hard" and had been "inappropriate."

Jacobson is claiming sexual orientation discrimination, failure to pay overtime, and failure to pay wages upon discharge, among other complaints. He's seeking unlimited damages exceeding $25,000.

Going into more specifics on the incidents, the article continues:

"Although initially friendly to Mr. Jacobson, Mr. Hindley (chief operating officer for America's Cup Race Management) and Mr. Bennett (America's Cup director of on-water operations) became cold and unfriendly toward him," the complaint says.

Jacobson claims that in August, he approached Hindley to request that he be considered for doing break down work once the regatta was over.

Hindley "made a 'limp wrist' gesture" and said, "People like you, don't want work like that," Jacobson claims, and he didn't get the job.

Then, at a party in September, Bennett told friends, "That's our poof," referring to Jacobson, according to the complaint. Bennett lives primarily in New Zealand, where "poof" is a derogatory term for gay men.

On September 12, the filing says, "without warning, and in blatant breach of his contract," Jacobson "was summarily terminated without legal cause or justification." Bennett and Hindley made the termination decision, Jacobson claims.

More on the lawsuit at BAR


  1. will says

    “…says one man made a limp wrist gesture at him, while another called him a ‘poof”‘”

    Oh, man up already. What a victim. I’m ready to call him a deratagory term myself.

  2. Troy says

    Man up? If somebody’s limp-wristed gesture is attached to my pocket book, you bet I’d complain. But will this even do him any good? Here in Indiana there is no protection against such an action by employers.

  3. Chris says

    The comment, “pushed his sexuality very hard,” reminds me, please don’t talk to me about your wife and kids or how you banged some chick you met at the bar last weekend, because by doing so, you’re pushing YOUR sexuality on me and it’s inappropriate. Oh, wait, I forgot there’s a double-standard we’re supposed to adhere to on these sorts of matters. Never mind.

  4. says

    I would bet this is legit. $25,000 isn’t actually much in a suit like this. After his attorney collects his’ or her’s fees, there will be little left for this man. I believe he’s making a statement about this behavior being unacceptable more than seeking financial reward.

  5. chasmader says

    “pushed his sexuality very hard”

    I believe refers to him passing out copies of his rather graphic autobiography to his boss, coworkers and their wives; probably making some uncomfortable.
    Not that this should have mattered, especially as Mr. Ellison has yet to come out, but probably not the wisest thing to do on Mr. Jacobson’s part.

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