Lawsuit Alleges Long Island Restaurant Owner Assaulted Gay Waiter While Using Homophobic Slurs Because He Wore The Wrong Shoes to Work

Homophobic Slurs
According to a lawsuit filed in 2019, the owner of Emilio’s Pizzeria & Ristorante in Commack, beat and used homophobic slurs against an employee because he wore the wrong footwear to work. Another ex-employee listed in the lawsuit also alleges she was the victim of repeated sexual harassment while working there. Photo credit: Google Street Views.

COMMACK, NY – According to reports, the owner of a Long Island Italian restaurant is currently the subject of a lawsuit by a former employee that alleges he was severely beaten and called homophobic slurs merely because he wore the wrong footwear to work.

According to a lawsuit filed last Friday, on Nov. 15, 2019, Emilio Branchinelli, the owner of Emilio’s Pizzeria & Ristorante in Commack, noticed that one of his waiters – Michael Abenante – had worn black Converse sneakers to work and demanded that he purchase new shoes or face being fired.

However, when Abenante complied, Branchinelli reportedly still wasn’t satisfied with his choice in footwear, instead growing incensed and allegedly saying, “You look like a f–king homo mountain climber, are you f–king stupid? You and your c–t mother both should’ve died when she pushed you out!”

At that point, according to the lawsuit, Branchinelli chased Abenante – who is gay – out of the restaurant and into the parking lot, where he allegedly kicked him in the back and punched him so hard in his face that he dislodged a tooth, all while reportedly berating him with homophobic slurs, including allegedly saying “F–king f–got, I’ll murder you.”


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According to the lawsuit, that was Abenante’s last day working at Emilio’s.

The lawsuit also alleges that Abenante faced regular harassment and discrimination from co-workers due to his sexual orientation, and that management was informed but never acted to stop the purported abuse. Another ex-employee listed in the lawsuit also alleges that she was the victim of repeated sexual harassment while working at Emilio’s as well.

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