February 25, 2024 The Newspaper Serving LGBT Los Angeles

Gay Actor’s Affection for Date ‘Unwelcome’ at LA Restaurant

By Susan Payne 

Support is being poured for a gay actor who was on a date at a Mexican restaurant and experienced a homophobic episode with a manager, according to the Advocate. 

On Dec. 12, actor Drew Droege was on a date and having drinks before heading to a show that evening. The Advocate reported Droege and his date were “expressing their affection for one another” when the manager of El Compadre in Echo Park approached the couple.  

“We had our arms around each other and kissed a few times,” Droege wrote in a Facebook post. “A manager approached our table and said something to the [effect] of, ‘you guys can’t do that here.”

Droege said, “We were confused at first, but then he very firmly stated, ‘this is a family restaurant.’”

He wrote on Facebook that he asked the manager whether somebody had complained because, as far as he could see, the restaurant was filled with straight couples who were dining, laughing, and engaging in similarly affectionate behavior.

“He threw his hands in front of us and said, ‘I don’t care if you’re the President of the United States, we don’t allow your behavior here,’” Droege said on Facebook.

Although since deleted, El Compadre posted a statement on Instagram: 

“We have read all of your comments and concerns, and we are looking into what happened Monday night at our Echo Park location,” the message read. “While we work to learn more, we want to make it clear we stand with the LGBTQ community and hold no space for intolerance, hate, or unjust treatment of our beloved guests regardless of race, ethnicity, age, gender, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, disability, or status. We were built off of the core value to do everything with love, and we will do what it takes to continue to warmly welcome any and every guest into a safe community. Please give us time to seek out what happened, gather more information, and take appropriate action. We will update you soon.”

Requests for the Advocate to speak with management went unanswered. 

Droege said he and his date had only been out for a few times, but they are shocked and disappointed and are caring for one another to get past the incident. 

“He is a fighter, and so am I,” Droege said. “And wow, we are getting flooded with support from friends and allies in and of the community.”

Droege’s post has gone viral with tens of thousands of reactions, including fellow actors in support, according to the Advocate. 

Actor Matt Bomer said. “I’m so sorry to hear this, Drew. I’m glad you had a good make out session though!”

Leslie Grossman added, “They are lucky someone as adorable and glamorous as you even went there! Obviously, this place is dead to me. Also, mazel on the makeout at least.”

Droege closed his post with the following question, according to the Advocate:

“Ever wonder why gay people often seem nervous? Why do we walk faster? Why do we work so hard to please others and be good little citizens in this world?” he asked. “I will never be back. I encourage you all to find another place too.”

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