Remember the fuss about Jersey’s Saloon, the sexy, Coyote Ugly themed bar that some thought would destroy fabric of society and lead to a dystopian, family-unfriendly NDG where everyone would be legally required to drink body shots from naked torsos on a daily basis?
Well, that’s back in the news again. Back before the bar from magnate and lawsuit aficionado Peter Sergakis was set to open, a sexy promotional video was put online, criticized and taken down, although it lives on silently at the CBC. City councillor for NDG Peter McQueen wasn’t impressed and complained about how Jersey’s Saloon was “selling sex”, and labelled it a “sex bar”. He mobilized the NDG community against such a business on what he called a family “family friendly” stretch of Sherbrooke Street. (Apparently McQueen forgot that other seedy spots live or have lived in the exact same part of NDG: remember Liquid Lounge?)
Sergakis was equally unimpressed and attempted to sue McQueen for $100,000, and a judge has thrown the case out this week as a frivolous lawsuit. Christopher Curtis at the Montreal Gazette reports that Judge Serge Gaudet — the true hero of this story — declared that reasonable humans “would conclude that McQueen simply meant the bar used “the charm of scantily clad young women” to sell their product.” Presumably, the more damaging interpretation was that Sergakis was actually using the bar as a brothel.
Sergakis told the Gazette that he isn’t particularly happy but will only appeal if he can find some error on Gaudet’s part.
McQueen, meanwhile, has praised the outcome as a win for free speech, which is fair, although it’s important to remember that the video that sparked the debacle, while tacky, could also be considered “free speech”.
Perhaps the most ridiculous part of this is that — if the good people who take the time to write Yelp and Facebook reviews are to be believed — Jersey’s Saloon was actually not all that racy or wild in the first place.