Gay Applebee's employee brutally beaten, asked not to return by manager because of negative PR

Phares (right) was left with serious facial injuries after an alleged assault by a co-worker's husband.
Phares (right) was left with serious facial injuries after an alleged assault by a co-worker's husband.

Timothy Phares is gay. He works as a server at the Applebee's in Rice Lake, Wisconsin, and during the early morning hours of March 17 he was brutally attacked by a co-worker's husband in a Perkins parking lot.

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According to Phares's account of the incident, moments before he got blasted in the head with a 2 x 4, the alleged assailant, 36-year-old Rien Hendricks, told him: "Fucking faggot, I'm going to kill you." Phares's co-worker was with her husband at the time and witnessed the incident, though she hasn't been charged with any crimes.

Phares was left with facial fractures that will require the insertion of metal plates. And to add insult to injury, according to a detailed account of Phares's plight in the Wisconsin Gazette, Phares's Applebee's manager, Tara Steinberg, told him following the attack that she no longer wanted him to come to work because the alleged assault "had attracted so much negative publicity."

But Greg Flynn, CEO of Apple American Group and owner of the Rice Lake restaurant, intervened on Phares's behalf and overruled Steinberg, and Phares remains on staff.

As the Gazette report details, Phares's sexuality has caused problems at the restaurant, and he recently put in his notice (a move he ultimately rescinded) after an ugly incident where a patron used "a number of embarrassing anti-gay and homophobic slurs while Phares was serving him."

Applebee's spokesman Dan Smith recently issued a statement addressing Phares's plight:

This very unfortunate personal situation involving two of our franchisee's employees occurred during their free time and entirely away from the restaurant. The husband of one employee has been charged by police with felony assault. The police have informed us that this individual's wife, who works at the restaurant, has not been charged and is not a subject in the investigation. The employee who was attacked is still employed with the franchisee. Although he had voluntarily resigned prior to the incident, the franchisee encouraged him to remain employed and he accepted that offer. Our franchisee continues to monitor the investigation, and if there are any further developments related to any of its employees, it intends to evaluate the information and act accordingly.

As you'd imagine, Phares told the Gazette he doesn't feel particularly safe at his job and isn't sure how long he'll stick around. Meanwhile, Hendricks has been charged with felony battery.

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