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Eagle Rock Brewery Fights Men Rights Activist Over Women’s Forum

3:32 PM PDT on October 26, 2018

    [dropcap size=big]T[/dropcap]ing Su was furious when she got hit with a discrimination complaint for her Women’s Beer Forum.

    “Me, an Asian female discriminating against a white male? Really?” Ting Su told L.A. Taco. “My head exploded. All of the emotions and a number of expletives came out: Fury. I was completely beside myself.”

    Co-owner and operator of Eagle Rock Brewery in Northeast L.A., Ting Su was recently a local target in a long line of so-called “gender-based discrimination” complaints initiated by self-styled men’s rights activists in California. These guys believe they’re the ones being discriminated against by events and forums designed to uplift women.

    All photos by Philip Iglauer.

    My initial response on it was, I am not giving this guy a penny.

    The year-long ordeal started with an email in November 2017. A man named Steven Frye sent an email to the Brewery’s general information line asking point blank, ‘Are men allowed to go to the Women’s Forum?’

    One of her staff replied back saying basically the women’s beer forum is for women. That was a mistake. Ting Su said men have attended in the past, can attend now, and have even delivered presentation during forums. It wasn’t long before the brewery got another email from Frye, this time demanding thousands of dollars or he’d file a complaint with the California Department of Fair Employment & Housing (DFEH).

    Ting Su said she apologized to Frye for the misunderstanding, offered him tickets to attend the forum, which includes craft beer and sometimes food pairings. She said he rejected the offer. Instead, he filed a complaint.

    “My initial response on it was, I am not giving this guy a penny,” Ting Su said. “He’s extorting us and I am not playing that game.”

    But months later when the government got back to her, Ting Su said the government told her there is reasonable cause to open a case. She had to choose between swallowing her pride and paying a settlement to Steven Frye or defend the brewery in a costly lawsuit that the government would file on his behalf.

    “We decided to low ball him,” she said. Initially, the offer was to settle for $8,000. Ting Su and her brewery settled out of court with the government for a payment of $1,500.

    The whole experience led her to start a GoFundMe page, at first, to raise money to help pay her legal bills. Having surpassed her goal of $10,000, Ting Su now wants to use it to raise awareness about what she described as a “loophole” and “abuse” in California’s anti-discrimination laws that were designed to protect women and people of color.

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    It is beneficial to all California citizens and visitors.

    Citing California’s Unruh Civil Rights Act, men’s rights activists have filed a slew of complaints alleging discrimination against women’s events, night clubs offering lady’s night, restaurants and, yes, even a women’s beer forum at a local pub.

    Steven Frye garnered national attention when he sued Donald Trump, of all people, for hosting a breast cancer awareness event in which a ”ladies” received a discount during a breast cancer charity event.

    The National Coalition For Men (NCFM), a men’s rights group based in San Diego, described Eagle Rock Brewery’s complaint settlement as a victory.

    “It is beneficial to all California citizens and visitors who will not suffer whatever discrimination apparently took place at the Ting Su & Eagle Rock Brewery, including members of NCFM who visit the whatever it is,” said Harry Crouch, president of NCFM by email.

    Crouch also said his organization isn’t affiliated with Frye’s complaint.

    As for the Women’s Beer Forum, Ting Su is determined to continue hosting them every month saying, “I am not going to get bullied out of doing a project that built a tremendous community.”

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