Café bar faces backlash after charging different prices for women and queer people

After a sign with the promotional offer was displayed, the bar faced huge backlash from the Italian LGBTQ+ community.

LGBTQ+ activist Andrea Ragusa and owner of the Italian bar Al Volo Salvatore Puglisi shaking hands.
Image: Via Facebook - Andrea Ragusa

There’s a café bar in the Italian city Modica, in Sicily, that has recently displayed a sign offering different coffee prices to customers depending on whether they are men, women or LGBTQ+ people.

According to the sign, clearly visible at the entrance of the bar, the promotional offer would be valid from October 13 to 31. Prices for coffee in that period at Al Volo, the name of the Italian bar, would be 80 cents for men, 70 cents for women and 75 cents for LGBTQ+ folks.

The vice-president of the LGBTQ+ organisation Arcigay Ragusa, Emanuele Micilotta, denounced the move on social media, defining it as discriminatory. “All of this in 2022 is simply chilling and unacceptable,” he commented.

Micilotta then went on to denounce the absurdity of having to witness this while LGBTQ+ activists in Italy still have to deal with much more serious discrimination. After the results of the 2022 national elections in September when a far-right coalition won the majority of seats in the Italian Parliament, activists have been very vocal about their concerns about the future of LGBTQ+ and women’s rights in the country.

“We want explanations, an apology and above all that that sign is immediately removed” Micilotta concluded.

After the news caused huge backlash, the owner of the Al Volo café bar, Salvatore Puglisi, replied to criticism by saying: “I did it in good faith, I have nothing against them. It’s a joke, I’m not a homophobe.”

However, after facing more backlash he was forced to remove the sign with the absurd promotional offer. President of Arcigay Ragusa Andrea Ragusa went to speak with the Puglisi in person, explaining why the discriminatory sign caused such a huge controversy. In the end, the matter was resolved with a handshake between the two.

“The sign has been removed,” Ragusa announced in a social media post. “Today I was called a simpleton president. It’s true: I believe I am. Maybe I should be less conversational and welcoming. But they taught me that the path of dialogue and confrontation must always be followed where possible”.


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