Fairness Campaign to boycott Woody’s Tavern

The Fairness Campaign is calling for a full boycott of Woody’s Tavern in response to another alleged racial incident involving the bar’s owner that took place last month. The LGBT rights organization is demanding that David Norton, who also owns Magnolia Bar & Grill in Old Louisville, sell Woody’s — a popular gay bar near U of L’s campus — and if he will not that its doors close.

According to sources, four African-American patrons were playing pool at Woody’s on Sept. 21. After they had problems with the table and lifted it to dislodge the balls, Norton allegedly confronted them, yelling and chasing them out of the bar before saying, “Look at their skin color; you know what’s on the tip of my tongue.”

LEO Weekly called Woody’s today for comment but got no answer.

This incident comes on the heels of another high-profile case involving Norton and a group of mostly black LGBT students and faculty from U of L. In April 2008, Professor Kaila Story said she and some students were involved in a heated exchange with Norton that resulted in Norton showering them with racist epithets and slurs.

When LEO Weekly inquired about the incident last year, Norton denied the whole thing and said he wasn’t even at Woody’s that night. A day after the altercation, however, a bartender said Norton was indeed at the tavern when the incident occurred.

Almost a year later Fairness revisited the incident and pressured Norton to make a public apology to the group. “What came out of my mouth was pure filth,” he said at the press conference.

Check back with Fat Lip for more updates.

UPDATE: Seven other social justice organizations including the University of Louisville Office of LGBT Services have joined Fairness’ boycott of Woody’s, which will be formally announced tomorrow afternoon near the bar at 4 p.m. The organization plans to regularly flyer potential bar patrons and the surrounding community to alert them about the boycott and encourage their participation.

“Mr. Norton has now proven that not only was his public apology of a month ago empty, but that he refuses to change,” Fairness Campaign Director Chris Hartman said in a press release. “We, at the Fairness Campaign, believe a stand must be made against this series of injustices, which will undoubtedly persist if Mr. Norton continues to operate his business.”

The Magnolia Bar and Grille, which is currently owned by Norton, will not be included in the boycott, Hartman says, because Fairness leaders have received report of its ownership changing this month;however, it will be included if ownership has not changed hands by the end of October.


  1. Tony
    Posted October 5, 2009 at 6:33 pm | Permalink

    Just stay away. He evidently has issues. Heard both bars were for sale. Support local bars that care about their patrons.

  2. mv
    Posted October 5, 2009 at 6:59 pm | Permalink

    its a shame that these incients happen there, it is a fun place and the barteners are always most accomodating. it is too bad that we as a community have to boycott and take away the livelihood of the decent employees that work there. unemployment is bad enough to have 4 great guys in the line with so many of us. its too bad there wasnt some other alternative to protect the jobs of the others.i do however, agree that he should sell, but we do live in a democracy. i understood, that if indeed, these racial allegations could be proven in a court of law, that jefferson county has such laws on the books for prosicution

  3. MPTR
    Posted October 5, 2009 at 9:19 pm | Permalink

    You know, we’ve ALL used those words either in public or in private. Personally, I have a lot of very good friends who happen to be black, so I don’t see a need to use the epithets, however, if you DO use them well, that’s just free speech. Let me explain. I had a bit of a run-in with four black guys a few years ago when they parked their car in my drive and I had to call the police to have it moved so that I could leave for work that morning (and I was late because of this). The officer ran the tags but it did not match to any address in my neighbourhood so the officer had the car towed. When I got home, those guys were waiting for me. They called me fag and every other name they could think of. When one of them told me that I needed to watch my back from now on, I called the cops to file a report. The police officer, also a black man, told me that they can call me a queer or fag or whatever as it is considered free speech. He told me that if I used the N word, it’s free speech too. Well, I don’t like to be called names so I don’t want to call others’ names, but whether or not I agree with what you say, I will defend to the death your right to free speech! Let me also say that the owner of Woodys apparently has an issue and is not a savvy businessman. Regardless of his feelings of other races, he would be smart to remove himself from his business. I’m not saying he should sell, I’m saying he should find someone who knows how to run the business to do it and him to shut up and stay home. All that said, I will not boycott Woodys, but I will show up for an occasional drink just as I always do and NOT call anyone out of their name; unless of course it’s some troll trying to get in my pants :-)

  4. ds
    Posted October 5, 2009 at 10:31 pm | Permalink

    It is my understanding that Woody’s has also SOLD. I actually worked for the bar but not for Norton. I received a text message today from the former bar manager that said the bar had been sold and everyone lost their jobs… just an update from someone concerned about his favorite neighborhood bar.

  5. ds
    Posted October 6, 2009 at 1:22 pm | Permalink

    please excuse a mistake i made in my post yesterday. I DID NOT receive a text from the former bar manager, bur rather from a friend of mine. I regret this error in my post and hope it causes no individual any harm.

  6. Matt
    Posted October 6, 2009 at 3:34 pm | Permalink

    This is some awesome reporting. I am literally in awe of your journalistic standards.
    I have decided that from now on, I will make things up, and when I do, I will claim that what I said is “according to sources”. Evidently this makes my statements news and not gossip and innuendo.
    Bravo to you all.

  7. Miss Laci
    Posted October 7, 2009 at 3:33 pm | Permalink

    Yep, This is clearly a case of “Making a Mountain Out of a Moe Hill”

    In April 2008, Professor Kaila Story overreacted at Woody’s Bar with the two dogs by jumping on top of the pool table. On September 21, 2009 there were (according to sources) four African-Americans playing pool at Woody’s and after they had problems with the table, instead of reporting this to the bartender(s), on their own they lifted the table and let it drop to the floor to dislodge the balls. As you can see with Professor Kaila Story and the four African-Americans this can throw off the leveling and/or crack the slate top of the pool table which would be very costly to repair and much more $$$ to replace. For the most part and in this day and time people do NOT respect other people’s property, especially in a bar where drinking is going on… With this in mind Woody’s Bar owner, David Norton rightfully so confronted Professor Kaila Story and the four African-Americans, but overreacted with his alleged racist and sexist comments.

    ALL parties where out-of-order and overreacted… But, now the Fairness Campaign/LGBT rights organization want to stone David Norton and his business to death. Let him who is without sin cast the first stone. They are demanding him to sell Woody’s or close the doors and never re-open again. You do NOT stone a man and his business to death over a few racist and/or sexist comments. This is nazism stuff. I believe the motive and intent of the Fairness Campaign/LGBT rights organization is unfair and wrong in this case. I am a purple heart vietnam veteran and I sense a smell of nazism/communism rule. With that said… I, Miss Laci do NOT give the Fairness Campaign/LGBT rights organization her seal of approval in this case and does NOT and will NOT support a boycott againce Woody’s Bar… But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; Matthew 5:44… This bible verse is my prayer for this case… Love, Miss Laci

  8. JC
    Posted October 8, 2009 at 12:34 pm | Permalink

    I think its time the Fairness Campaign focus on the politics and government issues. Going into a bar is a personal choice. If you dont enjoy the atmosphere, or the reputation of the owner DO NOT be a patron at that bar. Grow up and move on.

  9. Benji
    Posted October 9, 2009 at 6:04 pm | Permalink

    I think some of you are missing the point. What should be focused on is not what the patrons did, but how the owner reacted. The unprofessional way he handled the situation very clearly shows he is an unfit owner for a PUBLIC business. Fairness is only doing what they always do, for better or for worse – protesting because of intolerance. It is sad that the workers have to suffer because of David Norton, but anyone that has known him knows this liability is a part of the job.

    Hopefully, Woody’s will reopen with responsible ownership.

  10. Miss Laci
    Posted October 10, 2009 at 2:22 am | Permalink

    At another website where I posted a comment before this one the over see’er said my comment was deeply offensive that I compared the Fairness Campaign to “nazism stuff” or “nazism/communism rule” and any additional reductio ad Nazium comments will be deleted.

    In his comment about my comment he made my point (see #2). I hope he gets the comparison with the “Woody’s revenge case” without being hurt, because that’s not my motive or intent.

    1. Now, if somebody pitched a fit, called you a name you don’t like which was foolish and inappropriate then suddenly you are able to cause their business to shut down what would you call it? I don’t think the word would be “Fairness” do you? The Woody’s revenge case (shutting down a business over name calling) is an over kill.

    2. You were offended and angered because I made a “nazism/communism rule” comment about the Fairness Campaign and now if I use those words again on your website you will shut me down and put me out of business of posting comments about this case. Now, if you really want revenge (like the Woody’s revenge case) because I offended you and hurt your feelings go to the Fairness Campaign, they may be able to help you get my computer takin’ away from me.

    3. I, Miss Laci is a white male crossdresser and on the front lines. So, in my case how many businesses would you say I could get shut down (if I really tried) in a years time because of name calling and sexist comments about me?

    4. What ever happen to: Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me. (caution: if you don’t know who you are then and only then will words hurt you).

    5. Going into a bar, restaurant or anywhere else is a personal choice. If you don’t enjoy the atmosphere, the food or the reputation of the owner do NOT be a patron at that place of business. Now, if the owner is not running or operating his business decently and in order and if you give him enough rope he will hang himself by forcing his own self out-of-business. It’s that simple !!!

    JESUS said… But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; Matthew 5:44… This bible verse is my prayer for this (Woody’s revenge) case… Love, Miss Laci

  11. dg
    Posted January 22, 2010 at 12:35 pm | Permalink

    We forget there is only one race–the human. God made us all in His likeness. Not the outward appearance but the spirit. We must realize we are all sinners and must work to overcome hatred of our fellow man because he is different from us. Homosexuallity is a sin, but so is lying, drunkenness, etc. Don’t be the first to cast a stone at anyone. In fact don’t pick up a stone to throw. Ask Jesus into your life.

  12. rOgyND5vlO
    Posted July 16, 2013 at 3:47 pm | Permalink

    238632 536170A really really intriguing post! I