Man 'too old' to drink in Wellington bar

01:43, Jan 31 2009
TOO OLD? Norman Levido, 57, has complained to the Human Rights Commission after a Wellington bouncer told him a bar was full of young people and that he should go home.

A 57-year-old man has complained to the Human Rights Commission after a Wellington bouncer told him a bar was full of young people and that he should go home.

Artist and self-described "man about town" Norman Levido wanted a quiet beer before catching the last bus home but was turned away from student hangout The Big Kumara on February 27.

He said he was let halfway up the stairs before a second bouncer called out: "There are young people up there, you go home."

He left but took the matter to the Human Rights Commission, which has agreed to investigate.

He said he had drunk one beer at another bar and was not drunk.

"There were other people around. I feel absolutely embarrassed, humiliated and angry and wonder how many other people of my age that happens to."

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He had initially only wanted an apology but he said the last straw came on Monday night when he was refused entry to The Establishment - another bar owned by Andrew Gibson's hospitality group.

He said the bouncer told him: "You know you're not allowed in here."

He wanted an apology from Mr Gibson, The Big Kumara's owner, as well as $1000 for humiliation, $1000 donated to child cancer and a $1000 bar tab so he can shout a group of his "mature" friends there for a drink.

Human Rights Commission spokesman Gilbert Wong said the bar management would be contacted for a statement.

Mediation would then be held between them and Mr Levido.

"We need to talk to all the parties to see if there are any elements of unlawful discrimination.

"Often [in such cases] there's an apology. There have been cases of compensation."

Bars had the right to exclude a person for many reasons, including dress code or conduct, but not on the basis of age, gender, sexual orientation, political or religious beliefs, Mr Wong said.

Gibson Hospitality Group spokesman Jamie Wilson said it had not had to mediate a human rights complaint before and had no comment to make about the complaint.

"It's a matter between them [Human Rights Commission] and us, not for the pages of the media."

The Dominion Post