The East Frank Superette and Kitchen in Monroe, North Carolina is no stranger to controversy. Back in 2022, the restaurant, which flies a pride flag and regularly hosts drag shows, came under fire from locals after a picture was leaked of a child attending one such drag show, according to WCNC.
Because it’s a private business and wasn’t breaking the law, the at-the-time Mayor of Monroe, Marion Holloway, said there was nothing that could be done about it. But it looks like the restaurant owners got a bit too cocky.
— Queen City News (@Queen_City_News) January 2, 2024
Last year, a group of locals held a small demonstration outside the Monroe City Hall by holding up signs decrying child abuse and grooming. This was done in support of talks within the Monroe City Council to prevent children from attending drag shows. The owners of East Frank Superette and Kitchen decided it would be a good idea to take a photo of the demonstrators and edit it to look like they were, in fact, supporting drag shows and the restaurant itself.
According to Queen City News:
Following the June incident, the lawsuit states the restaurant “doubled down” and again used altered photos without permission on June 25, July 12, July 15, and October 21.
Documents in the lawsuit allege that in each use of the altered photos, they were used to advertise and promote East Frank’s business and its services without permission.
“No Plaintiff, and to the knowledge of Plaintiffs, no other person depicted in the June 13 photograph or any other photograph reference hereinafter, has ever approved or endorsed, or has ever intended to appear to approve or endorse, East Frank’s business or its services,” the lawsuit states.
Court documents state Ted Toms reportedly reached out to the restaurant demanding that the images be taken down and the restaurant continued to use unauthorized photos of Toms and others to promote the business and services.
It was a bold move on the restaurant’s part that isn’t looking like it’ll pay off. But then again, they might not have had a choice but to retaliate like that if grooming children is an essential part of their business.