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Sidetrack Lawsuit: Bar's Lawyer Says Blogger is Intimidating Witnesses

By Serena Dai | June 23, 2013 8:46am
 Art Johnston (left), the well-known owner of Sidetrack, has been accused by conservative blogger Kevin DuJan (right) for harassment.
Art Johnston (left), the well-known owner of Sidetrack, has been accused by conservative blogger Kevin DuJan (right) for harassment.
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BOYSTOWN — Local right-wing blogger Kevin DuJan has again accused prominent Boystown bar Sidetrack of bullying him for his faith — but Sidetrack attorneys say the claims are a way for DuJan to intimidate witnesses in a lawsuit filed against the bar by DuJan's boyfriend, according to a written exchange between DuJan and the attorneys.

DuJan is the blogger behind Hillbuzz.org, the same site that speculated President Barack Obama is a gay man with a cocaine habit. He's in a long-term relationship with former Sidetrack doorman Joseph Parker, who is in the midst of suing the bar for violating his civil rights through sexual and religious harassment.

Parker is a self-declared gay conservative Christian, and allegations in the suit range from managers asking Parker to have sex in a "playroom" of toys to encouraging customers to harass Parker for being "a crazy Christian conservative."

Sidetrack has denied the claims and believe DuJan is partly behind the suit. The blogger has a history of criticizing Sidetrack owner Art Johnston and the gay community as the "Gaystapo," and has previously accused the bar of denying him entrance due to his beliefs, a claim the bar denies.

Last week, DuJan sent a letter addressed to Johnston claiming that four of the bar's employees harassed him while he was at two other Boystown bars on Monday night, Replay and Little Jim's.

He claimed that the men called him "crazy Christian" and told him he was going to "get the s--- kicked out" of him. He also said the men told him Johnston had said they should "slit [DuJan's] throat."

If "any Sidetrack employee present or past attempts to bully or harm me in any way that [sic] you will be as responsible for the attack as a dog owner who allowed a dangerous Presa Canario to maul someone," DuJan wrote. 

Sidetrack attorney Scott Gilbert responded to DuJan's claims with a letter to Parker's lawyer Stephen Boulton saying that not only are the claims false, DuJan is trying to intimidate witnesses in the case.

Gilbert said two of the employees saw DuJan either photographing or filming them with his phone on the night DuJan claimed they harassed them. The other two told Gilbert that they do not think they would recognize DuJan if they saw him, the letter said.

"Leaving aside the tortious and malicious nature of your client's letter, it represents an unacceptable attempt to harass and intimidate individuals who will be witnesses in this litigation and will not be tolerated," Gilbert wrote.

The next status hearing for the case is on Monday morning. At the last hearing on Thursday, Boulton did not appear and Judge Amy St. Eve said another failure to show up would result in case dismissal. Previously, Boulton showed up 30 minutes late to a hearing, according to court documents.

Gilbert also said that Boulton had not responded to any of his emails.

Boulton said later in a phone interview that he had to be called away to suburban Waukegan on Thursday morning, which is why he did not attend. He insisted that he would be in attendance at Monday's hearing — and he still thinks the case will go to jury trial.

Already, Parker and DuJan have been examined by Sidetrack lawyers, and the examples of discrimination are strong, Boulton said.

"They've given articulate testimony," Boulton said. "Joe gave examples of harassment in great detail."