Popular Central Eastside bar the White Owl Social Club announced on Instagram June 4 that it had fired two security guards for throwing a transgender patron out of the bar after she entered the women's bathroom.
"I walked in and the stalls were closed. I did what everyone else does when they're looking for an open stall, kind of lean over, but in a place where I was standing, even if my face was against the floor, you wouldn't have seen anything but feet and shins," Alex Schwarting told KATU-TV.
Initially, the bar defended the security guards who threw Schwarting out. But on Monday, White Owl Social Club announced that it had fired two people and was investigating how the incident occurred.
“We are deeply sorry that this happened and we are continuing to investigate why it occurred,” the bar said in a statement on Instagram, “and additionally we have decided to terminate both security guards involved.”
The confrontation, which happened Saturday, June 1, came on the first night of LGBTQ Pride month. The timing may have intensified criticism of the bar and its initial response.
“We hear those of you who have commented on the incident, as well as the premature inarticulate statement we released [Sunday],” the bar’s management said in a statement. “Transphobia, homophobia and other bias—whether explicit or implicit—is unacceptable both at our bar and universally. We will do better.”
The bar had most recently made headlines because police investigated an alleged sexual assault that occurred on March 31. The Oregonian reported the assault happened at a daytime party hosted in the bar.