Shane Cullinan, a bartender at The Pub, a gay-friendly restaurant/bar/drag venue in Wilton Manors, Florida which reopened last month amid the COVID-19 pandemic, said he will press charges after an ugly incident with a customer he said put his life at risk. The customer, who turned out to be a local business owner, became irate when Cullinan asked him to wear face covering in observance of the restaurant’s mask guidelines, and then spit in Cullinan’s face.
Cullinan addressed the man, later identified as Gary Bouvier, the owner of Wilton Wings restaurant in Fort Lauderdale, after he tried to walk behind the bar looking for a restroom. When Cullinan asked him to put on a mask, Bouvier exploded, telling Cullinan, “You don’t know who I am, and f**k off” and “and to f**k your mom.”
Bouvier left the restaurant for a few minutes and came back with a mask on, approached Cullinan, and said “f**k off and you messed with the wrong person” before pulling the mask down and spitting directly in Cullinan’s face.
“We called the Wilton police right away but he ran out to his Lamborghini to get away,” wrote Cullinan in a Facebook post that has since gone viral. “This man spit in my face with Covid going on. Why is this man not arrested right now? That is my question to the Wilton Police Department? My eyes were burning since he did that and even after I washed them, my eyes where still burning 8 hours later until I was done my shift and able to get home and shower.”
Cullinan said he has been vigilant about keeping himself and Pub patrons safe as he recently lost a friend to coronavirus, gay BSO Deputy Shannon Bennett, who is believed to be the first officer to have died from the coronavirus in Florida.
Bouvier later apologized on Facebook: “I consumed too much alcohol and engaged in out-of-character behavior for which I profoundly regret. I hope that I may demonstrate that one moment of poor judgment does not define who I am. I deeply apologize to Shane.”
Florida’s coronavirus cases are exploding at the moment. On Friday, a record-breaking single day number of 3,822 new cases were reported.
Cullinan gave a longer description of what happened on Facebook:
“Please keep in mind that we are trying to keep everyone safe at the Pub with everything going on. We are following all guidelines. All codes are enforced at the door and written down. All is to protect you! Some may think this is all crap but I had one of my best friends pass from this with no preexisting conditions. So it hits home more for me.
“Friday night I had a guy actually come behind the bar looking for a restroom. I told him it was on the other side and he needed to put his mask on while walking around. He said, ‘You don’t know who I am, and f**k off.’ I followed him to near the bathroom and told him the masks where to protect others and he needed to wear one while walking about. Again, he said ‘you don’t know who I am and to f**k your mom.’ He continued to say “you don’t know who I am” and shouted profanity. I walked away although he said I assaulted him in the bathroom. We have video and I never went in the bathroom.
“Probably about 7 minutes later he comes in from outside, actually has a mask on, pulls it down and spits in my face. He says, ‘F**k off and you messed with the wrong person’ I was completely in shock and so was his wife. This man spit in my face and put my life at risk and other patrons who were around the area. Spit stays in the air for a while.
“We called the Wilton police right away but he ran out to his Lamborghini to get away. This man spit in my face with Covid going on. Why is this man not arrested right now? That is my question to the Wilton Police Department? My eyes were burning since he did that and even after I washed them, my eyes where still burning 8 hours later until I was done my shift and able to get home and shower.
“I come to find out that this man is an owner of an establishment here on the drive. It’s crazy to me that someone would do that to another human being, let alone someone in the business. It’s been emotional and the most disrespectful/disgusting thing I have ever experienced in my lifetime in this business. I have been in this business for for almost 25 years.
“This is a business owner in Wilton manors who acts like this and It’s Completely unacceptable and shameful!!! I will press charges and contact the papers. Not for anything, because he will probably get a slap on the wrist, but because this guy is not a good person and if I did the same thing at his establishment to one of his employees ….. he would have reacted the same.”