September 30, 2020 The Newspaper Serving LGBT Los Angeles

Long, Dark History of West Hollywood’s Barney Beanery Against the LGBTQ+ Community

“Fagots Stay Out,” a misspelled sign over the bar at Barney’s Beanery in West Hollywood read since the 1940s.

The founder of Barney’s Beanery, John “Barney” Anthony installed the sign. It wasn’t until nearly 30 years later when LGBT community leaders such as Rev. Troy Perry and Gay Liberation Front founder Morris Kight pressured the new owner, Irwin Held to take the sign down. But he refused, saying that the sign “didn’t mean anything.”

Photos: ONE Archive.
Rev. Troy Perry and Gay Liberation Front founder Morris Kight protesting Barney’s Beanery.

After persistent protestors, the sign briefly came down in 1970 — but then it went back up along with several more signs.

Angela Douglas and the Gay Liberation Front picket Barney’s Beanery in 1969.

The signs permanently came down in early 1985. At the time, West Hollywood had just become its own incorporated city and had adopted anti-discriminatory ordinance. Held would face large fines if he didn’t remove the signage.

Morris Kight leads a Gay Liberation Front protest in 1969.
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