Photographed by Sunny Shokrae.
Bartenders, particularly in NYC, don't have it easy. Between late hours, working for tips, and dealing with drunken customers, dishing out cocktails on a daily basis can be a pretty tough job to conquer. Now imagine doing it while getting sexually harassed and groped regularly at work. You may not think about it, but, on top of everything else they're focusing on, bartenders — especially female ones — face these uncomfortable disturbances on a daily basis. How would you take charge of the situation? Laura Ramadei, an aspiring actress who bartends at Lucky Strike on Grand Street to make rent, has penned an open letter on Facebook, calling out married hedge fund mogul Brian Lederman for fondling her on the job — and for leaving a $2 tip after she made it clear she wasn't interested.
"When I asked you and your companion if you'd be eating, or needing anything else from me, you put your hand — ever so gently — ON MY ASS and asked if you could take me 'to go,'" she writes. "We were in a family-friendly restaurant, around 6:30pm, and I was wearing a loose-fitting, long sleeve shirt, jeans, and no makeup...so I'm not sure where the confusion arose as to what kind of service you were being provided."
The point of her note, she explains, isn't to personally attack Lederman, but for all men to "learn something about how hurtful and upsetting a small comment or gesture might be." With the flurry of headlines about violence against women — be it sexual or domestic — making the news, her message couldn't have come at a better time.
"Over the years my knowledge and skill set have expanded, but I seem to be getting worse at tolerating the 'service' part," Ramadei writes of her five-year stint as a bartender. "I deal with incredible amounts of entitlement, condescension, and drunk nonsense. And at a bar, it is impossible to ignore the fact that misogyny is alive and well. I can't tell you how many times people have treated me horribly and I've memorized or photographed the names from their credit cards, fantasizing about Internet revenge. But every time I've been tempted in the past (even after verbal attacks, physical affronts, or sexual harassment) I've stopped myself and let it go."
Her move may have been daring, to post Lederman's name, job, and even a copy of his receipt to social media, but it sheds light on the fact that these actions, regardless of how insignificant they may seem, shouldn't be tolerated. And, while Lederman denied the altercation to the New York Post, we think his reaction says it all:
"That f-king c-t, for her to do something like that is pretty ridiculous. I will make sure she doesn’t get another job in New York City. I know everybody. The bar owners, the club owners — that's a terrible thing to write about somebody." (Gothamist)