A gay porn star has accused a New York City leather shop for kicking him out because of his race.
Max Konnor, of Lucas Entertainment, has claimed he was racially profiled at the west village shop The Leather Man.
Owners of The Leather Man have refuted his claims.
Guys, I just experienced racism full force,’ Konnor said on Twitter.
‘The owner of Leather Man just kicked me out after coming in trying to get an outfit made for the GayVN Awards.
‘Please let them know that this behavior will not stand. Do not support this company. Send them a message.’
He also claimed to AVN he was in a consultation with the leather-maker who was advising him that the store would not be able to order the specific items he wanted.
The store owner then told him and a friend they had to leave because he didn’t have ‘time to watch’ them.
‘I went back upstairs because the leather shop is downstairs and the owner comes up to us and says, “Guys, we don’t have time to watch customers who aren’t buying anything”,’ he said.
‘I’ve never felt like this in my life. I’m literally still shaking.’
‘Then he stood there looking at us for like a minute and basically went in for the kill. He didn’t care what we had to say.
‘We were the only African Americans in the store. He told us he didn’t have time to watch us—well no one asked you to watch us.
‘We came in for a specific reason. It was the way that he approached us. After we left, the other patrons left, too.
‘It’s horrible. I’ve never felt like this in my life. I’m literally still shaking.’
Konnor says another employee followed them out of the Christopher Street store and apologized for the owner.
The Leather Man has also now issued a statement.
It said: ‘A number of rumors and misinformation about a supposedly racist incident taking place in our shop have been making the rounds on social media. They are, of course, untrue.
They continued: ‘The Leather Man has a long history of employing women, people of color, and transgendered individuals in both sales and management positions.
‘Throughout the worst of the AIDS epidemic, many HIV positive individuals found both employment and a safe home at The Leather Man when confronted by fear and discrimination elsewhere.
The statement continued: ‘As an institution, we take our role in the wider community very seriously.
‘We are deeply saddened that the specific interaction in question was, in any fashion, construed to have any racial overtones.
‘This was a matter of implementing a shop policy with regard to custom work and alterations, and the disagreement was in no way based on the individuals being men of color.
‘We do utilize a buzzer system during busy times to allow our sales staff to adequately serve our customers individual needs. It was not the case that any specific customers were ever locked out of the premises.
‘We regret that any customer would leave the store with such feelings. But we hope that our five decades of commitment to progressive social values represents The Leather Man’s commitment to being a welcoming place for all.’