Our lawyers were told to stay by the phone last Friday morning, when the Colorado Civil Rights Commission was slated to hear Steve Horner's appeal of the division's recent decisions that found "no probable cause" to believe that Westword had discriminated against him by publishing ads promoting ladies night events, and also publishing my own columns covering Horner's anti-ladies night crusades -- coverage that Horner himself had invited.
The commission might need more "information," the appeal notice advised. But by now, its case files are overflowing with missives from Horner, including his January 19 demand that the appeal of the Westword decisions be heard by "pragmatic men" outside of the commission.
Much of Horner's ire in that screed is directed at Penny Pearson, who'd made the "no probable cause" findings. "It seems quite evident that Penny Pearson has created her own biased conflict and then rendered a decision based on her biases," Horner wrote in his January 19 appeal.
In a call to me, Horner had referred to Pearson's C.U.N.T -- "Can't Understand Normal Thinking" -- problem, an acronym that I suggested might not be the most politic way to deal with a public official, even if it was the name of one of Horner's books, which he talked about in his first letter to me back in December 2006, long before I ever wrote about him. (That letter is reproduced at the bottom of this post.)
More from Horner's appeal letter:
#1: "I never had an opportunity to respond to the Respondent's initial response to my charges."
#2: "The retaliation statute says nothing about damages needing to be incurred."
#3: "The person retaliating does not need to be a place of public accommodation."
#4: "Patricia Calhoun singled me out as a private person and wrote a derogatory article about me which, in its entirety, speaks of her anger and frustration over the fact that I filed charges of discrimination against her paper."
"Now, folks, as I've maintained for a long time; my argument might be difficult for you to comprehend because, as Penny Pearson exhibits time and time again, your female gender could be clouding your reason. Therefore, I highly urge you to present my argument to pragmatic men outside the commission and division so that I might receive fair, balanced, and non-prejudicial and hateful interpretations to the law and my position in this appeal," Horner concluded.
The phone never rang Friday morning. "If not contacted on this day, please do not infer this has any particular meaning other than the Commission found the available information sufficient in its review and required no additional clarification by either party," the Division of Civil Rights had advised in its notice of the appeal hearing.
Steve Horner, go back to your corner.
Page down to read Horner's original letter to Westword, dated December 6, 2006, reproduced just as we received it:
I'm not totally positive but I'm quite sure the Westword ignored the public conversation surrounding my Ladies'Night complaint and subsequent charge of discrimination against Proof Nightclub from the Colorado civil rights officials. I hope you'll excuse me for not knowing but I stopped reading Village Voice affiliates when the City Pages in Minneapolis, a Village Voice rag, which regularly uses the disparaging word "cunt" in their stories and narratives, but hypocritcally refused my advertising money to announce the arrival of my new book, C.U.N.T., which is an acronym for Can't Understand Normal Thinking. The managing editor phoned me and said I was being "sexist." I disagreed and told him the book also includes pussy-whipped guys like him as well. So, with resentful and frustrated tears in his voice (I almost felt sorry for him), he said, "We won't run it!" and slammed the phone down.
Now, the only reason I find myself writing to you today is that I was paging through Westword while waiting for a haircut the other day and through my unflinching optimism I know, down deep, you're really interested in what's going on with me and Ladies' Night and why I've worked so hard at being successful at shutting it down in several other states. However, having witnessed the inherent hypocrisy of Village Voice affiliates with C.U.N.T., I know it would be a waste of my time to explain my motives in a logical fashion because even though you feign pain and injury over social discrimination, I know you couldn't care less about the civil rights of a bold, testosterone-laden he-man like me having my civil rights ripped right out from beneath me. So, I'll simply try to piss you off and tell you what's next on the agenda with the Ladies'Night issue. It's gonna be fun.
Now that the Respondent's Position Statement and my Rebuttal have been filed with state civil rights officials (your tax money at work), we're being told that a decision can be expected within a couple of months. Naturally, I'm sure to win because the letter of the law is on my side. And when I do win, I and every other Colorado man will be armed with the official decree that Ladies'Night is, indeed, illegal.
From that moment on collecting on the efforts of my patriotic vigilence will be as simple as going to court on a traffic violation but instead of being the payor, I'll be the payee, to the tune of $500 which is the fine for discrimination at a place of public accommodation which is already set by law. Therefore, whenever I'm discriminated for Ladies'Night at some joint advertising in Westword, I'll simply do my patriotic duty as a concerned citizen and file a motion for a court hearing, tell the judge the ruling from the state civil rights people, and collect my $500 from the defendant. Hell, after I get rolling I should be able to pocket at least three thousand bucks a week. Those stubborn, sexist, stupid and arrogant bar and nightclub owners who refuse to shut down their discriminatory promotion, and I expect there will be many, can expect a visit from me weekly. If they become angry and retaliatory toward me then that's an even more egregious violation of my civil rights. In short, girls, my beef with Ladies' Night is all about What's Good for the Goose is Good for the Gander and if the goose chooses to remain mean and stupid then I'll be happy to stand back and collect the golden eggs.
Yes, I know there are millions of self-serving crybabies who don't agree with my battle against Ladies'Night. For them I suggest that they get the hell off their fat asses and do their patriotic duty and have the law changed more to their liking.
Thanks and by the way, if you're interested in having me come to Westword to present my one-hour training camp to your employees to help them restore balance to their work and family lives, you'll never regret the investment of $350. Your employees will instantly become more effective with knocking down their business goals, employee morale will zoom and employee turnover will be a thing of the past. Think about it then give me a call. Thanks.
Steve Horner, the Coach
Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.