SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KRON) — An Oakland woman was escorted out of a popular Sacramento hotel pool after allegedly asking a female couple to stop kissing in front of children.
The incident was caught on now-viral video.
The woman and a group of at least five others were escorted out of the Kimpton Sawyer Hotel by security. As the group was leaving, a crowd started repeatedly shouting “Shame!” at them.
A lady in a blue dress walked over to address the crowd, who was still in the pool. She got close to the person recording and put her middle finger up to the camera, shouting “F—k off!” before walking away.
Another woman, only identified as “Deb” from her Starbucks cup, stopped and confronted the group for a while longer.
“Do you guys have any children? Because you’d be a f—king terrible dad,” she said. “What is wrong with you? I have never met anybody like you guys.”
The video was originally posted by Art Kaligos on Instagram and has gained more than 131,000 views and almost 800 comments.
“I started recording and started saying ‘Shame’ and everyone in the pool sort of joined in because the mood of the pool was joyous and it was very inclusive until that incident happened,” Art Kaligos said.
Kaligos filmed the now-viral video to stand up for Oakland resident Domonique Veasley.
Veasley said she was asked by these women to stop kissing her female friend in front of their children at the pool.
“I just looked at her and said, ‘You know, it’s totally fine. I totally understand … when I was three or four, I saw these lesbian ladies kissing, and look at me now, so totally understand,’ and she kind of scoffed at that; she wasn’t happy,” Veasley recalled.
“I looked at her friend and said, ‘Are you onboard?’ And she was like, ‘With what?’ And I was like, ‘This crazy mass amount of homophobia with a hint of racism that I’m picking up,’ and she was like, ‘No.’ By that time, I was just done with the conversation.”
Witnesses believe this was a homophobic incident.
The general manager of the hotel released the following statement, saying:
The Sawyer does not condone discrimination or verbal assault of any kind. An unfortunate disagreement between guests occurred at our pool over the holiday weekend and the matter has since been resolved.Nikki Carlson, General Manager at the Sawyer
A statement was released on Thursday from a spokesman from the families seen leaving, claiming they chose to leave because “they felt that their safety was at risk.”
This incident had nothing to do with homophobia, racism or even kissing. It involved what appeared to be sexual intercourse and inappropriate activity in close proximity of children. Young children should not be forced to witness explicit sexual activity in a hotel swimming pool in the middle of a summer afternoon irrespective of gender or sexual identity.
When members of the party politely and respectfully asked that some of the sexual activity be toned down because children were close by in the pool, they were met with aggressive verbal attacks.Family spokesperson Terry Fahn
It is also important to note that the families were not asked to leave, escorted or kicked out by the Kimpton Sawyer hotel. They chose to leave because they felt that their safety was at risk.
The false and misleading media coverage and social media posts have resulted in numerous threats to the families including their children, which is appalling and unacceptable. They have contacted law enforcement and will take whatever other actions are necessary to defend themselves from these false and defamatory claims.
Veasley and witnesses disagree.
“People supporting other people was so threatening to them. We should all want to support each other and be kind,” Veasley said.
“I was next to those women, and there was nothing happening that was inappropriate and not child friendly,” Kaligos said.
“There were plenty of other kids and no one else asked them to stop or any other couple were asked to stop, and most of the couples there were straight,” witness Georgy Avakov added.
Veasley says she hopes this incident will be a teachable moment.
“She could have talked to her kids about anything, like differences [and] being uncomfortable. If she didn’t feel like that was a type of display that people should be having she could have been like, just talk to her about it, even though she wanted to have those views,” Veasley said.
“It is Pride Month and Pride is about community. It’s about looking after each other, it’s about chosen family, so while those women with their children were protecting their families, we were protecting our family,” Kaligos said.