A Spa in Florida is in the center of a social media storm after the manager refused a gay couple a massage. The gay couple, Michael Levenosa and his boyfriend, Arnaldo, visited the Joy Feet Spa on Monday on Pine Ridge Road in Naples. The two bought and booked a couples massage on Groupon for $109, however, when they got there, the manager Jerry Liu declined the service, according to Yahoo. The reasoning, according to Jerry, was that a couple’s massage was “for a man and a woman”.
“My boyfriend and I decided that we wanted to have a relaxing Monday. So we Prepaid $109 and booked a couples massage at ‘joy feet spa,” Levenosa wrote on Facebook. “When we arrived the manager refused to service us because we are two gay men. He made it clear it had to be a man and a woman. Even after we told him we already paid he still denied us the couples massage. Today my humanity has been tested.”
In the video, Jerry Liu is heard emphasizing that the couple’s massage is for a man and a woman. He suggests the men get separate massages for a higher price. The couple tells the manager that they are being discriminated against for being gay. Liu tells them they are not being discriminated against for being gay, but insists that the couple’s massage is for a man and woman. The couple asks for the manager and Jerry Liu gives them the number where he can be reached at.
“I was just in shock. I was like, ‘Why?’ He was like, ‘Cause it’s female and male,’ and he just kept pointing to a poster on the wall for couples massages. You hear stories and stuff, but here where I live in Naples, Florida? I would’ve never thought that would happen.”
The manager of Joy Feet Spa, Jerry Liu, went on Facebook and apologized for the misunderstanding. He wrote, “I apologize. It’s my fault.”
He tried to explain the mishap to a cultural difference between China and the United States.
“In my country, a couple means a man and a woman as couple,” he wrote. “I never see a couple have same sex. I am sorry, I didn’t mean discriminate any gay or lesbian. I respect any one find the true love and also I hope they will love each other forever whatever they are both men or woman.”
Liu extended the men an olive branch by offering them a free one-hour massage. However, Michael Levenosa and his boyfriend declined the offer but accepted Liu’s apology. According to NBC, it is not illegal to discriminate against the LGBTQ community in Florida.