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Small-town bar allegedly banned regular customer for being 'old and white': 'You old, white people act like you own everything'

Composite screenshot of WUSA9 YouTube video | Featured: Judge Joseph Michael

A middle-aged man in Maryland has filed a lawsuit against a local restaurant he used to frequent regularly after the establishment allegedly banned him because of his race and gender.

Neal Glessner is a 52-year-old manager of an IT solutions and hardware company from Boonsboro, Maryland, a small town of about 3,300 people about 65 miles northwest of Baltimore. Glessner claimed that, until about a year ago, he frequently patronized a local bar and restaurant called Dan's Taphouse, founded in 2012 by husband and wife team Dan and Charlotte Aufdem-Brinke, who have since divorced. Glessner estimated that he spent about $500 at Dan's every week.

However, a lawsuit filed in December and amended last week indicated that Glessner and a friend were banned from Dan's about a year ago for simply being white men. According to the lawsuit, Glessner and his 17-year-old daughter went to Dan's on February 18, 2022, to place a to-go order of two burgers and a salad. The two then ran into Glessner's friend, Joseph Michael, a former deputy state's attorney who had just been nominated to serve on the circuit court bench.

About 45 minutes later, Glessner expressed frustration that he still had not received his order. A member of the staff overheard his complaint and allegedly became argumentative with Glessner. Eventually, Glessner said he received the order, paid the $125 tab, added a $25 tip, and left with his daughter.

Michael remained behind, drinking a beer at the bar. After Glessner had gone, Mike Skinner — a manager who appears to be a white male — asked Michael to tell Glessner not to return to Dan's. Michael refused to relay the message, the lawsuit stated, telling Skinner, "I don't work for you." Skinner then allegedly became enraged and barred both Michael and Glessner from Dan's, saying they were no longer welcome there. Police soon arrived to escort Michael off the premises. Bodycam footage indicated that Michael left without incident.

As Michael was leaving, he claimed that Skinner screamed, "You old, white people act like you own everything. Get the f*** out of here!" If Skinner made those comments, they were not captured on the bodycam video.

The lawsuit claimed that a scroll through some of Skinner's social media activity likewise demonstrated animosity toward white males. One post hinted that white men "are a disease," and another referred to Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, who is black, as a "f****** traitor." Screenshots of the supposed social media posts were not included in the lawsuit.

Owner Charlotte Aufdem-Brinke denied the allegations in the lawsuit, claiming instead that Glessner had been banned because of "repeated occurrences of disruptive behavior against members of our team. Nothing more. Nothing less." In a recent Facebook post, she stated that she "can no longer stand by and watch a group of men try to destroy" her business, which she said was designed to provide "a welcoming environment" where no one will "feel threatened or unsafe." She called the lawsuit "frivolous" and a "political" stunt meant to "cancel" those with whom Glessner disagrees.

On her Facebook page, Aufdem-Brinke has posted images that express support for Black Lives Matter and other leftist causes. However, Glessner said his lawsuit isn't political. "Anyone who thinks this is about BLM, Trump, or any other political issue is ignoring the facts to promote a political agenda that is not mine," he said on Monday.

Over the weekend, a handful of Glessner supporters showed up to protest outside Dan's, some carrying signs that read "It is okay to be white" and "Old white men's lives matter." Aufdem-Brinke claimed that the protest merely boosted interest in Dan's, which she said enjoyed "a record-setting weekend for sales."

The lawsuit asserted that Dan's discriminated against Glessner, Michael, and at least six other unidentified white males "on the basis of race and/or color." It also stated that the restaurant's alleged racial discrimination has caused him "economic loss, humiliation, embarrassment, mental and emotional distress, strain on relationships, and unlawful deprivation of his protected rights to exercise and enjoy equal treatment." He is seeking nearly $600,000 in compensatory and punitive damages.

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