Online review website “Yelp” has removed more than 1,000 negative reviews of a New Jersey bridal shop after it was flooded with comments bashing the shop for refusing to sell a wedding dress to a lesbian bride-to-be.
On Sunday we reported that shop owner Donna Saber at “Here Comes The Bride” in Somers Point, N.J. told customer Alix Genter that she wouldn’t work with her because she is gay, and in a voice message, that what Genter was planning is “illegal” and that “we do not participate in any illegal actions.”
At the time, there were more than 850 negative reviews and single star ratings, most of which condemned the shop owner for her anti-gay attitudes.
The reviews swelled to over 1,200 before Yelp began deleting them.
According to a statement by Yelp, as reported by CNET:
“While Yelp does not support any sort of discrimination, reviews of businesses on Yelp should be about the customer experience not the views of a business or its employees. This policy is clearly stated on our FAQ. Reviews that go against these guidelines are regularly removed by our Customer Support Team. That said, Yelp DOES encourage dialogue on the site via Yelp Talk; just not on business reviews.”
Yelp spokesperson Chantelle Karl told CNET, “As is our normal procedure, we’ll be working to pull these reviews and notify the reviewers in the coming days.”
One of the 46 reviews that remain is that which was posted by Genter herself:
Donna, the woman in charge at Here Comes the Bride, refused to sell me a dress because I am gay.
After spending a day trying on dresses with my family and friends, she called me to say that she didn’t realize I was gay and would not work with me because that’s “wrong.” She also said she was shocked because my family and I seemed so nice, and that my being gay is a “shame.” Then, presumably to counter my accusation of discrimination, she said that what I am doing is illegal and she does not engage in illegal activity. I guess she is unaware that civil unions are legal in NJ (where her store is) and same-sex marriage is legal in NY (where I am getting married), and that anyone should be able to buy a wedding dress if they’d like, even if they’re single and just want to dress up at home by themselves.
Please do not support this bigot. She is a rude, judgmental, self-righteous homophobe, and from what I’ve read in other reviews, her bigotry does not stop at gay people. Her listing on Merchant Circle has complaints of racism, ageism, and other forms of degradation and harassment.
The Daily Kos reports that there is a 1991 amendment to New Jersey’s civil rights statute that makes it illegal to refuse to sell something to someone on the basis of their “affectional or sexual orientation.”