Grand Street resident, gay activist and pop star Ari Gold and his partner were ordered to the back of a bus for holding hands this weekend, and when the pair refused, the bus driver called a N.Y. state trooper.
Gold, who lives in the Hillman Houses and was profiled in The Lo-Down in December, announced the incident on Facebook, and it was picked up by Michael Musto in his Village Voice column on Sunday. The Advocate followed up with a story today:
Gold said “we were both listening to Whitney Houston on an iPod double jack and loving her love songs,” and holding hands, when the driver pulled over to tell us to “stop sitting in the front.” Gold said no, “and that’s when the driver called the state trooper.”
When the state troopers arrived, Gold said they told the bus driver “there was nothing illegal about the way we were sitting.” Still, Gold says he and his boyfriend were again told they could move to the back of the bus and resolve the problem.
“We said no,” and asked to file a police report but the officers “quickly exited the bus, leaving ours and the other passengers safety in the hands of a dissatisfied, discriminatory and mad driver,” according to Gold, who said he couldn’t get badge numbers for the officers.
The bus company, which runs service from NYC to upstate New York, northern New Jersey and eastern Pennsylvania, vowed to look into the complaint.
“We do not condone or endorse the actions taken by this one driver. His actions are not representative of the management of our company,” wrote George Grieve, president of Hudson Transit Lines, which owns Shortline. “We will continue to investigate this incident until we are sure we have all the facts at which time we will take the appropriate disciplinary and remedial action. We apologize for the insensitive action of our driver and can assure you we will take the necessary steps to make sure this does not happen again.”