A gay couple from Texas said they felt "embarrassed" after an employee at a public pool told them to stop kissing - even though other straight couples were apparently showing PDA, CBS Dallas-Fort Worth reports.
Brandon Roper and his boyfriend Giuseppe Cellura told the news station there were a number of straight couples locking lips at the Tehama Ridge community pool, in Fort Worth, Texas, but they were the only ones who were reprimanded for their affection.
"(I felt) singled out and discriminated against. Like I was different than everyone else in the pool and not only that, but (I was) embarrassed," Roper told CBS Dallas-Fort Worth.
The couple recorded the incident when a pool attendant told them to stop kissing. In the 10-minute video, the pool assistant, Aaliyah Justice, who is the pool manager's younger sister, admits that she told the men to stop kissing. When the manger, Gary Justice, spoke to the couple, and Roper's mother, he said it's the pool's policy on PDA and not "targeted at any group."
Though the pool employees said they did not intend to kick out the couple, they were firm on their no PDA stance. But, as the pool manager explains their policy for no PDA, Roper points the camera to a couple embracing.
"We were doing that for five seconds," Cellura can be heard saying in the video.
"They've been doing that for two hours, and she hasn't said a word," Roper said, referring to the pool assistant.
Soon after, the manager goes over to speak to the couple but Roper yells, "It's too late. Nice try. This has already gone viral!"
"This is a lawsuit," Roper's mother, Belinda Roper, can be heard saying off camera.
The couple posted the video to social media, and has of this writing the clip has over 41,000 views on YouTube.
"I think being hush, hush about it and letting it slide and sweeping it under the rug or just letting it go, I don't think that solves anything," Brandon Roper told CBS Dallas-Fort Worth.
Belinda Roper also posted the clip to Facebook, but she claims she received threatening comments.
"I'm afraid for my life. I'm very afraid for my life," she said, adding that one user allegedly asked her if she'd like men with guns to show up at the pool.
Belinda Roper eventually called Fort Worth Police. Investigators are currently looking into the situation.
"We should stand up for everybody. Everybody deserves the right to have a free and happy life," Belinda Roper said. Her son added that "in today's society, if you have that kind of blatant disrespect and bigotry, there are prices to pay."
Since the incident, Bearfoot Management, the company that hired the pool attendant, released a statement:
Bearfoot Management and its employees are truly sorry for any actions that have occurred making the family involved in this incident feel they have been treated with any type of disrespect. We have reached out to the family and expressed our sincere regret for the incident that occurred.
Our company's policies are to ensure a family friendly environment at each pool we manage. Our expectation is to enforce this practice without discrimination of any sort. We train our employees to treat each person with love and respect. While we are in the business of pool management, our company takes it upon itself to try to mold the young adults and teens working for us to be responsible and caring adults to help improve the world around us.
According to CBS Dallas-Fort Worth, the employee is no longer working for the company.
Watch the video below: