Unhappy hours

Girls’ Night Out

Are ladies’ night discounts human rights violations in disguise? The Minnesota Department of Human Rights thinks so. The agency is investigating five bars in Minneapolis and St. Paul for selling discounted drinks to female customers.

According to the department, this practice violates the state’s Human Rights Act, which forbids businesses from discriminating against customers based on sex. This isn’t the first time sexism has reared its head in the Minnesota bar scene: In 1992 the department charged Gators Bar at the Mall of America with discrimination because of its ladies’ nights.

Both the 1992 investigation and the current one stemmed from the complaints of one man: the Minnesota-based activist Steve Horner, who has earned at least $6,000 by filing discrimination complaints against bars all over the country. Horner, who admits he never set foot in the bars he sued, sees his cause as a battle for equal rights. “I guess I’ll always be on the prowl for a good ladies’ night fight,” Horner told the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

Under state pressure, five bars in the Twin Cities have canceled ladies’ night, forgoing tens of thousands of dollars in revenue. Has the men’s rights movement found its Rosa Parks? Horner might think so, but his tireless efforts to reduce the presence of women in bars is more likely to earn the ill will of his fellow man. 

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