A north Portland bar owner is under fire after a group of patrons say he kicked them out just because they are transgender.
The Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries is launching an investigation into the claim against Chris Penner, the owner of the P-Club on North Lombard.
Cassandra Lynn filed the complaint last month.
She and other transgender women have gotten together at the P-Club on Friday nights for the past two years, and Lynn says they've never had a problem.
"In two years, we didn't have a bathroom issue, a fight, an argument - no one in our group even raised their voice," said Lynn.
That's why when Lynn received a voicemail message from Penner, she was totally caught off guard.
Lynn and her friend Victoria Nolan met with FOX 12 Thursday.
Lynn played Penner's message on her phone:
"Hello, my name is Chris. I'm the owner of the P-Club Bar and Grill. Unfortunately, due to circumstances beyond my control, I'm going to have to ask for you, Cass and your group, not to come back on Friday nights."
Nolan calls it blatant discrimination.
"It's not like we had drawn attention to cause fights or we had any issues," said Nolan. "We were asked not to return and we were asked not to return because we're transgender."
The Bureau of Labor and Industries has launched an investigation, but on Wednesday, Penner said it doesn't make sense.
"We are a north Portland community bar that's open to everybody who wants to come in and have a good time and has respect for my employees and has respect for the place," said Penner.
But on Lynn's voicemail, Penner claims her group was hurting business:
"People think that A.) we're a tranny bar, or B.) that we're a gay bar. We are neither. People are not coming in because they just don't want to be here on a Friday night now."
Lynn disputes that.
"I've been there since day one," said Lynn. "And there were no more people in that bar on the first Friday we were there as the last Friday we were there."
Lynn and Nolan don't care about ever being invited back to the P-Club.
Now, they say this is all about civil rights.
"We just feel that if we go into a business, we shouldn't be asked to leave just because we dress different."
FOX 12 contacted Penner to set up a new interview Thursday regarding the voicemails.
But after speaking with his lawyer, he declined.
Copyright 2012 KPTV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.
Thursday, July 31 2014 11:57 AM EDT2014-07-31 15:57:19 GMT
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