In America? In Philadelphia? Yes. Revisiting the Geno’s Steaks saga that started in May 2006, last month the Philadelphia Commission on Human Relations has notified Joey Vento that his novelty sign that reads “This is America, when ordering speak English” is discriminatory. Now Mr. Vento has to defend his constitutional right to free speech against the City of Brotherly Love. The Philadelphia Inquirer reported that Vento “has enlisted the support of the Southeastern Legal Foundation, a conservative public-interest law firm in Atlanta.”
The complaint is patently ridiculous for two reasons other than we are talking about ink on paper, constitutionally protected free speech. First, no person has ever been refused service for not speaking English so, there are no “victims” of discrimination. Vento says if they can’t speak it, they just point to the picture of the sandwich he has at the counter, and they do business. Second, if someone can’t speak the language, how the hell could they read the sign in the first place to, ostensibly, be offended or discriminated against? There is no case.
It is a great case of harassment by city officials with way too much time and money on their hands.
UPDATE: March 21, 2008, Geno’s Steaks Prevails