GRAPHIC LANGUAGE: Okla. Air Force Base declares controversial steak restaurant “off limits”
UPDATED 6:18 p.m.
We have learned officials at Vance Air Force Base in Enid have placed Gary’s Chicaros off-limits to military personnel.
Airmen will be given a formal notice Monday. As you may recall NewsChannel 4 has reported several stories on owner Gary
James and what some people say are racist and sexist rules for his customers and employees.
Gary’s Chicaros is not the only establishment declared off-limits to military personnel we are told commanding officers regularly
place business off-limits when they feel may threaten the health and safety of members of the military might be threatened at those establishments.
ENID, Okla. – NewsChannel 4 followed up on a story we first aired early February, about a restaurant owner in Enid getting heat for discrimination.
He previously told us he doesn’t want ‘f*ggot, freak’ customers.
Now, gay rights supporters all over the country are responding to James’ comments online.
“You owe me an apology, you crucified me,” James said.
James’ phone has been lighting up since the story ran.
“I’ve had 1,000 calls from f*ggots,” James said.
Now, it seems gay Americans are getting a laugh at Gary’s expense.
One internet restaurant review is calling Gary’s Chicaros, “The best gay bar in Oklahoma.”
“It’s a funny approach to wonderful activism. No one’s being harmed and certainly it’s raising awareness,” the Cimarron Alliance Equality Center’s Scott Hamilton said.
Hamilton said this can be an opportunity to raise awareness about bigotry in all forms.
“It’s one of those things that we prefer not to talk about because it’s so ugly, yet not talking about it does not make it go away,” Hamilton said.
“I love freedom of speech but freedom of speech is one thing but when you cut that tape to make me look like a real a**hole, that wasn’t fair,” James said.
To be clear, we did not put any words in his mouth.
James claimed we crucified his business but then told us his t-shirt sales have increased.
“My business has improved 25 percent because of it but do I have time to tolerate all those little f*ggots,” James said.
Our station received quite a few calls and emails from people who said they had bad experiences at Gary’s Chicaros.
A lot of them said they are afraid to speak out because of any backlash, including a former employee who asked we don’t reveal her identity.
We asked her if people are scared of him.
“I am, to be honest,” the former employee said.
This former employee, who’s talking with us because we agreed to hide her identity, said things got ugly after James found out about her biracial children.
“He walked over and looked at my phone and said, that’s a n***** and I turned and I said, ‘That’s a child.’”
She said the harassment continued, not just at work but off the clock as well.
“‘I saw you drop off your ni**lets at school,’ and I said, ‘You know, that’s enough. Enough is enough. You can say what you want about me and you can have your opinion all you want but you leave children out of it. They’re innocent.’”
She has no proof of employment; our source said James paid her illegally in cash.
That may not be his only infraction.
According to Garfield County court documents, Gary’s Chicaros is at the center of an undercover investigation involving serving alcohol to minors.
A mom is now speaking out because she is proud of her hometown.
She said she loves Enid and believes it’s time for James to retire his views and close up shop.
“Their generation will be gone soon and the new generation will take over and it’s a colorful generation,” the mother said.
NewsChannel 4 talked to the Oklahoma Able Commission.
They said James has been registered with them for 25 years; however, that liquor license only applies to the sole proprietor.
Anyone serving alcohol other than James is required to get an individual license; it costs $30 and is good for two years.
The Attorney General’s office confirmed no one has filed a complaint against Gary James or Gary’s Chicaros.