Calhoun: Wake-Up Call

Steve Horner takes his anti-ladies' night crusade to Las Vegas. Good luck with that.

It was five years ago that Steve Horner went to Proof of the Pudding one hot August night and asked to get in free -- just as women were on ladies' night. When the doorman refused, Horner filed a complaint against the club, which soon spiraled into dozens of cases against other clubs around town. But Horner no longer lives here and, not coincidentally, we've noticed that ladies' night deals are popping up all over.

The anti-ladies night crusader was hard to miss when he lived here, filing complaint after complaint with the Colorado Civil Rights Commission, claiming that ladies' night deals offered at local bars and restaurants -- and advertised in Westword -- violated his civil rights. When the commission decided not to pursue those complaints, Horner often took his case to the courts, where I spent a very long morning four years ago hearing him argue that ladies' nights were discriminatory, comparing himself to Rosa Parks and Jesus Christ.

Soon after losing that case, Horner returned to Minnesota, where he'd first started his anti-ladies' night crusade two decades ago, shortly after getting divorced. After a flurry of cases there, he moved on to St. George, Utah -- which is conveniently close to Las Vegas, a hotbed of ladies' night deals.

And now Horner is up to his old tricks in Sin City.

His first complaint, filed with the Nevada Equal Rights Commission over a ladies' night at the Blue Martini in Las Vegas, was rejected because he'd never gone there -- a snafu that got many of his complaints thrown out in Colorado, too.

So then Horner jumped into much deeper water: the giant pool parties that many casinos host where admission for females is free or a bargain, but men have to pay... and sometimes pay big. He showed up in person, armed with a camera and tape recorder, demanded the same deal that females were being allowed -- and then filed complaints against those casinos that did not give it to him. According to a story last Friday in the Las Vegas Sun, Horner recently filed six complaints -- against the Hard Rock, Tropicana, MGM Grand, M Resort, Rio and Mirage -- each seeking a minimum of $2,000 in damages plus attorney fees. "Horner said casino employees laughed," the paper reports, "when he asked whether he could get into the events free or at the reduced 'women's rate,' They seemed unconcerned, he said, when told they were being taped."

That could be because the casinos will soon have clear law on their side: The Nevada legislature has passed a measure that will make female-friendly business deals legal. It takes effect on October 1.

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Patricia Calhoun co-founded Westword in 1977; she’s been the editor ever since. She’s a regular on the weekly CPT12 roundtable Colorado Inside Out, played a real journalist in John Sayles’s Silver City, once interviewed President Bill Clinton while wearing flip-flops, and has been honored with numerous national awards for her columns and feature-writing.
Contact: Patricia Calhoun