UPDATE: Main Event concludes investigation, calls gay couple’s claims ‘blatantly false’

Alberto Lesmes, right, and his partner Chad Hemp.

ANNA WAUGH  |  Staff Writer

Main Event has finished its investigation into a gay Plano couple’s claims that they were told they were not a family and asked to leave the entertainment complex, concluding that their accounts are “blatantly false.”

A press release emailed to Dallas Voice on Friday explains that the investigation found the “couple’s claims of discrimination and the subsequent one-sided media accounts of the guests’ claims to be blatantly false.”

“We are disheartened by the inaccurate media accounts of what occurred while we were conducting our investigation,” Amy Johnson, Main Event marketing director, said in the release. “We are most disappointed in the false, unsubstantiated attacks that were allowed to be made against our employees who were professional, courteous, and did everything they could to ensure that every one of our guests at Main Event is completely satisfied.”

In a note above the press release, the vice president of the PR firm representing Main Event, Open Channels Group, requested that Dallas Voice remove previous stories about the incident.

“Main Event Entertainment management would appreciate your review of their investigation and respectfully requests that stories be updated and that inaccurate previous versions be removed in lieu of these facts,” Open Channel’s Anthony Spangler wrote. “After reviewing this release, we believe you will agree that the previous one-sided coverage does not reflect your publication’s standard of fairness, balance, and journalistic integrity.”

After interviewing the couple about their allegations, Dallas Voice immediately contacted Main Event in Plano and the company’s corporate office for our initial story Tuesday. Johnson said she didn’t want to comment until she had spoken to the couple.

Alberto Lesmes said he and his partner, Chad Hemp, were told they were not family and asked to leave after a manager at the Plano Main Event told them they were a problem when they wanted to switch bowling lanes. They switched once because of technical difficulties with the lane and wanted to switch again after a child from a group next to them kept using their lane.

Video footage, register transactions and employee interviews were reviewed during the investigation and “facts refute the derogatory claims made by the guests,” according to the company’s latest press release. The release states that the couple were told the venue was a family place to indicate that children would be present and were not told to leave. It also alleges the couple used profanity and racial slurs when speaking to management.

Johnson did not return calls or emails Friday inquiring whether Dallas Voice could review the video footage.

Hemp admitted to using profanity when he asked management to switch lanes the second time. He said he told the manager, “This is fucking ridiculous” after their conversation became heated.

Lesmes then came over to speak to the manager and Hemp stepped away. Lesmes said he apologized for Hemp’s language and was calm with the manager. He explained they wanted to be in a lane that was not next to an overcrowded one because the one next to them had about 15 people bowling in it and a child kept using their lane.

That was when the manager explained that Main Event is a family environment. Lesmes said he understands the manager meant kids would be there, but he took offense when the manager told him  he and Hemp were not a family after Lesmes told the manager that he was also there with his family and pointed to his partner. He asked the manager several times to clarify why he and his partner were not considered family, but the manager did not respond, he said.

Lesmes said they were asked to leave, but a server who walked up during the conversation jumped in and said he and Hemp could come over to the bar to finish their drinks since they hadn’t been there very long.

Like the company, Lesmes alleges the incident has been misconstrued by some media outlets that have picked up the story.

“We were asked to leave because the manager said to my face that we are not family,” he said.

When asked if racial slurs were used, Lesmes said “absolutely not.”

“It had nothing to do with any kind of racial issue,” he said. “We’re an interracial couple.”

Main Event staff called Lesmes to talk about the incident earlier this week, but he was dealing with a death in the family, so he couldn’t speak at the time. He said the company releasing a statement about the investigation being closed without speaking to him and his partner shows “that they don’t care.”

Hemp said he initially wanted something more than just an apology, but he said Friday that’s the only thing the couple wants, adding that they don’t expect to receive one.

Read Main Event’s full statement below.

Main Event Investigation

—  Dallasvoice