A gay catering service worker claims he was taunted with homophobic slurs by Houston Rockets basketball players while setting up a buffet in their locker room at Barclays Center last year.
Rasean Tate says in a federal discrimination lawsuit that his back was turned when the insults were directed his way, reports The New York Post.
But he heard them.
But he heard them.
The 28-year-old Tate claims that he was setting up the buffet in the visiting Rockets locker room before a game on Feb. 22, 2013, when he was all but chased from the area because he was gay.
“When the plaintiff’s back was turned to defendant Rockets players, he began to hear laughter and taunting voices saying ‘get this f—– out of here!’ ” according to the suit, and ” ‘He’s trying to catch a sneaky-peeky!’…
“These series of comments were repeated a number of times by defendant Rockets players and staff,” claims the suit. “Plaintiff could hear defendant Rockets players overlapping voices and laughter.”
The lawsuit claims Tate was phased out of locker room duty and demoted by Levy Restaurants (the company that handles catering at Barclays center) after he complained and he was given fewer hours to work because of it.
“It was loud and gregarious and there were overlapping voices,” Tate’s lawyer Marjorie Masidor told The Post.
“I think there’s a bit of irony that this occurred in the same place where a person’s (Jason Collins) sexual identity is accepted and welcomed with openness, while in the same place a visiting team chose to degrade Rasean and set us back,” Masidor said.
Among the players on the Rockets roster for the game were James Harden, Carlos Delfino and Jeremy Lin. The lawyer would not say whether Tate could identify anyone who made the comments.
The Rockets organization and Levy were named in the suit. No Rockets players, Barclays Center or the Nets were named in the legal action.