Flag on the play: LSU fan banned from Florida restaurant

LSU fan banned from FL restaurant
Harry T's changed its Facebook profile image after a firestorm of criticism from LSU and SEC fans. (Source: Facebook | Harry T's)
Harry T's changed its Facebook profile image after a firestorm of criticism from LSU and SEC fans. (Source: Facebook | Harry T's)

BAY ST. LOUIS, MS (WVUE) - An LSU fan left Florida with a bad taste for one restaurant on the beach this weekend, after a staff member banned LSU faithful from the establishment.

Don Bass, who works as the Chief Criminal Deputy for Hancock County Sheriff's Office, spent the weekend in Destin for a coworker's beach-side wedding. After the wedding, he hoped to eat with members of the party at a nearby establishment, Harry T's Lighthouse, which is located on the Boardwalk near Destin Harbor.

"We were told come around 8:00, business would be less and we could fit y'all in," Bass said.

But once Bass arrived, wearing his trusty LSU cap, he was met with a little less than Southern Hospitality.

"Went to the front door, I was told by the greeter, 'LSU fans aren't allowed here,' but I laughed it off, I thought it was just because of the rivalry, they had the game on all the TVs and I said, 'well let me go to the back we're meeting some people here,'" Bass said.

Bass passed through the restaurant, noticing a large contingent of Florida Alumni enjoying the game, and went straight to the outside deck.

"We went to the back and there were some tables available there in the back and I called our friends and said, 'hey they have some tables here' and they said were at Margaritaville now and again I was approached and told LSU fans aren't welcome here," Bass said.

He eventually left and met his friends down the road, but was so taken aback by the way he was treated, he dropped Harry T's a line, only to get an e-mail from an employee that made things worse.

The e-mail, from Harry T's employee Nick Empson, attempts to explain the Florida Alumni had dibs on the restaurant and added: "LSU does not carry a good name here at Harry T's … we've had LSU "fans" physically attack a few members of staff … you must understand our trepidation in hosting your university."

That hit Bass so hard, he decided to post the email on Facebook, which garnered an outpouring of attention from people vowing never to return to Harry T's.

In a Facebook post from the restaurant, a representative attempted to explain the situation again, saying they won't deny any fans from the restaurant, but more than 400 commenters exclaimed it was too little, too late.

FOX 8 reached out to Harry T's to give them a chance to apologize, but the manager Thursday morning said they did nothing wrong. That was followed by an additional Facebook post Thursday afternoon, claiming the restaurant had "Unsportsman-like conduct" on LSU fans, apologizing and offering a donation to an LSU scholarship fund and free drinks for fans this weekend.

"It was just a misunderstanding between one of our staff members and one of our fans and it got blown out of proportion on both ends and our staff member made a mistake," Jamie Hall, the manager at Harry T's said.

Either way, Bass said he won't be visiting Harry T's again, despite the apology.

"I'm not sure what they were thinking or how they run their business but it didn't seem like a good choice," Bass said.

Late Thursday afternoon, Harry T's announced it would have a "GEAUX Gameday Football Party" on Saturday. The restaurant will donate 50% of its proceeds and $2,000 of its own money to an LSU scholarship fund.

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