(WSVN) - America is split over the presidential race. If you support one candidate, friends supporting the other can be furious. A South Florida man says he was banned from his condo gym because he wore his Donald Trump ‘Make American Great Again’ cap.
Is that legal? Help Me Howard with Patrick Fraser elected to check into it.
Nikos Henry is a young single guy … so it’s no surprise why he moved to South Beach.
“The women… the weather … the culture,” Henry said.
As you can see from Nikos’s cap, he also likes Donald Trump.
“I believe in what he says. I think we need to change the country,” he said.
Sometimes when Nikos goes out, he wears Trump’s ‘Make America Great Again’ cap and sometimes that grates on the nerves of people he sees.
“I gotten heckled … some guy threw a soda in my car with the window open and said ‘Screw Trump,’ and I am like, ‘What the heck,” Henry said.
Nikos can laugh about being heckled. “And hen I wore it to the gym, and that’s when it all went downhill,” he told 7News.
The South Florida man lives at The Flamingo on Miami Beach where his lease includes a membership in the gym that’s on the property.
“I got approached a couple of times by staff that told me I should probably not wear the hat and I ignored them and kept wearing it,” Henry said.
Henry said the newly appointed general manager came up to him and said ‘you need to take the hat off.’
“And I basically told him he needed to go screw himself. And he banned me from the gym,” Henry said.
Nikos then got an email from the general manager saying, “We were terminating your membership due to the verbal harassment directed at one of our employees.” Nikos says that’s not why he was banned.
“He says verbal harrassment, but I know it’s because of the hat. I know it,” Henry said.
Nikos says he ignored the ban and went back to the gym wearing a different cap.
The manager at The Flamingo fitness gym sent an email with a surveillance picture taken of Nikos at the gym, telling him if he came back, he would be arrested and charged with trespassing.
So Nikos went to to speak to the manager.
“I went and apologized. I said I won’t wear the hat again and he said, ‘No, we sent you an email, read it. You are banned,” Henry said.
Banned Nikos believes he was banned because he supports Donald Trump.
“I think it’s political discrimination … definitely. This is insane. It’s hilariously insane,” Henry said.
Nikos thinks it’s insane, but Howard, is it legal to bar him from a gym for wearing a cap supporting a political candidate?
“No they cannot ban him for the Trump cap because they have no rules prohibiting the wearing of political attire, but they can ban you for what they call verbal harrassment. And how does Niko prove he’s banned because of the cap and not harrassment? It’s almost impossible. He can’t do it, and so they can ban him,” said Howard Finkelstein, 7News legal expert.
7News contacted the general manager at the fitness center who says Nikos didn’t even wear the cap into the facility.
He wrote, “Mr. Henry’s membership was not suspended due to this attire or political views. His membership was cancelled for his inappropriate and verbally abusive behavior. Hostility and harassment is simply not tolerated in order to protect our staff and fellow members.”
“I feel like it’s my right as an American to be able to wear what I want,” Henry said.
Despite the claim it was Nikos’s abusive words that got him banned, he is still convinced it was his Donald Trump cap.
“People cannot stand for the freaking Star Bangled Banner now? You can’t wear a hat? It’s just insane,” Henry said.
Now Nikos could sue the gym, but he probably wouldn’t win. He admits he cussed at them when they told him to take the Trump hat off… giving them the right to bar him for verbal harassment.
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