By Ross von Metzke
Originally published on Advocate.com July 28 2009 12:00 AM ET
Note to bartenders, bouncers, and business owners the world over: Don't mess with gay-list celebrities.
Broadway star Nick Adams -- who is as well known for his extensive theater résumé as he is for last year's tabloid-concocted tiff with A Chorus Line costar Mario Lopez over who had the better bod -- took to his Twitter and Facebook page over the weekend after he and his boyfriend were turned away from a predominantly straight Manhattan bar.
Adams tweeted that he and his boyfriend were denied entry to the Turtle Bay Grill and Lounge by a bouncer who claimed their white T-shirts were in violation of the bar's dress code. Adams says he and his boyfriend were holding hands, something he says the bouncer took notice of and, with a laugh, turned them away.
"At first I was like, OK, I'm just being a little sensitive to this, I think, " Adams told Advocate.com. "But then I watched this group of guys [in white T-shirts] go right in. Obviously, they were there with their girlfriends and not gay.
"You get a sense sometimes from people that they are uncomfortable with your sexuality or they're going to treat you differently because of it," Adams continued, "and I 100% felt that way in that situation."
Rather than cause a scene, Adams hopped online. Through Twitter, Facebook, and his personal blog, Adams told his story and, within minutes, his fans went crazy.
Comments began to pile up on his blog, including one from a man identifying himself as the general manager of Turtle Bay, who wrote that the club never allows guys in white T-shirts to enter and called Adams's allegations "ignorant, irresponsible, and flat-out wrong."
That seemed to make his fans even more mad -- between his Facebook and blog post, within a day, more than 100 people had weighed in, with some even posting photos from the Turtle Bay website of guys wearing white T-shirts. Then came an e-mail from the marketing and public relations manager for Turtle Bay, who reached out to Adams in response to complaints the bar had received in a letter the actor posted on his website.
"I feel terrible about this impression/misconception and want to do everything I can to rectify the situation as soon as possible," Kristi Paris wrote in the e-mail. "May I please invite you and your friends in as my guests for lunch/dinner and drinks on us? I'd love to meet you and your friends and have the chance to personally apologize for any negativity you experienced here."
In the letter, Paris reiterated the club's dress code and suggested Adams and his boyfriend might have even been denied entry because the club was at capacity. She made no mention of the people who were allowed into the club wearing white T-shirts.
Paris told Advocate.com that the no white T-shirt rule has been in place since "around April, " and that she isn't surprised to find that photos of people wearing white shirts in the club are available online. She said the rule is enforced to prevent people from showing up that the bar in Hanes undershirt type tee's.
She added that she personally reached out to Adams because "the last thing I'd want someone to associate with a place I worked for is that it might be homophobic."
Adams says that while he appreciates Paris's attempt to make amends, inviting Adams and his friends to a bar where they'll eventually spend money isn't quite what he had in mind.
"I work with a group called Live Out Loud, I'm constantly doing work with Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, so if they want to donate a check or cash to that, awesome. An apology letter that sort of makes it look like I was confused about what was happening is not what I was looking for."
Despite everything, Adams says he's shocked and thrilled at the response he's received from friends and fans.
"It's been tough times for [the gay community], and I think people are more sensitive now to little things like this that, in 2009, are just unacceptable. And especially with the help of the Internet -- we're a strong community, we have a lot of pride, and I think it's beautiful to see people I don't know back me up on this and say, 'We shouldn't have to deal with this.'"