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Louisville Bar Staff Quits After Rape Allegation Emerges Against Owner [UPDATE]

Women have accused Haymarket Whiskey Bar’s Matthew Landan of sexual misconduct

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Photo: Shutterstock

Update, December 8, 2017: On December 7, former Haymarket employees Eric Snider and Christopher Maggio counter-sued owner Matthew Landan, WDRB reports. The former employers have also asked to court to dismiss Landan’s suit against them. The former employees’ lawyer sent Eater the following statements in a press release:

From Christopher Maggio: “The claims made against us are false and I feel like we’ve been pulled into a lawsuit designed to scare people, when we’ve done nothing wrong. I hope suits like this don’t keep victims of sexual assault from coming forward in the future.”

From Eric Snider: “We hope that victims of sexual assault, and their supporters, aren’t intimidated by lawsuits like this.”

Update, November 30, 2017: Matthew Landan is suing two women who came forward, as well as former members of staff, for defamation and damages sustained to the business.The four named defendants include the two women who made the public accusations as well as two former Haymarket employees, Eric Snider and Christopher Maggio,” the Courier Journal reports. Landan’s attorney Andrew Horne says the allegations are false; as of Wednesday, no criminal charges have been filed against Landon.

On Wednesday, November 29, Landon reopened Haymarket Whiskey Bar, “as a statement against the accusations,” according to the Courier Journal. Local news channel WHAS reports some protestors gathered outside.

The staff of Louisville’s five-year-old Haymarket Whiskey Bar have effectively shut down the bar — by refusing to show up for work — after owner Matthew Landan became the subject of a rape accusation that surfaced on social media. “I will comfortably say that every employee refused to open the bar and quit,” manager Eric Snider told Eater when reached for comment. “But we all would like the focus to be on the victims and the crime. Not us. We aren’t important here.”

The walkout was held in response to multiple sexual misconduct allegations against Landan that have surfaced since November 13. On that date, Westley Moore posted a public Facebook message under the still-trending #MeToo hashtag, in which she claims that Landan raped her, clarifying in the comment thread on the post that it allegedly happened in 2013. "Some friends know this already, and I feel it’s time for the rest of you to know and make a stand,” she writes. Eater has reached out to Moore, but has not heard back.

The Facebook post has over 750 shares and over 1,200 reactions, and seems to have kicked off a swift response towards Landan and the bar. On November 14 and 15, multiple staff members posted to Facebook that they no longer were working for Haymarket “under Matthew Landan’s ownership.” Several musicians, DJs, and other groups who performed at the venue have publicly announced they will no longer do business with the bar, and a public protest is planned for Friday evening, in what the organizer describes as a “show of support to those women brave enough to come forward and those who have been silenced.”

That line refers to other women who, inspired by Moore’s post, came forward with their own allegations against Landan in recent days. At least two more misconduct allegations against Landan are currently posted on Facebook.

Eater has reached out to Landan for a comment and has not heard back; the restaurant’s website and Facebook page are no longer active. Former Eater Louisville editor Zach Everson noticed that Landan had posted a statement on his personal Facebook page that has since been taken down, in which Landan describes Moore’s allegations as “serious, false, malicious, and defamatory.”

Screenshot: Zach Everson

Meanwhile, Yelpers have flooded the bar’s Yelp page, some with allegations, others confirming that there have long been rumors about Landan. As often happens after major news breaks about an establishment, Yelp has put the page into “active cleanup,” which basically suspends the page and prevents further posts.


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