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Hard Rock Hotel responds to drag queen lawsuit

Twelve pages of court documents allege discrimination, fraud and retaliation by management of the Hard Rock Hotel in Palm Springs. Representatives at the hotel said it was a simple business decision to cancel a dying show. However, the show’s producer and star, Alfie Pettit, otherwise known as ‘Arial Trampway,’ said it was sabotage after the hotel’s majority owner changed his mind and told an employee he did not want the establishment to become a “gay property.”

“They are totally without merit. Hard Rock is a brand that practices one of its foundations, which is ‘love all, serve all,'” said Eric Hill. “Which means we are an all-inclusive brand.”

Hill is the general manager of the Hard Rock in Palm Springs. He said the company invested heavily in media, but that the decision to cancel the production came when management realized the show was “failing.” He said they tried to cut costs to make it profitable, but that Pettit was not receptive, so they were forced to part ways.

“You look at ways on how to carve costs out of the show to get it profitable. We negotiated, but we could not come to a mutually beneficial agreement so we were left to cancel,” Hill said. “The show was never a success financially.”

The other camp said that is not true.

“We sold out almost every Sunday for a little over an 8-month run. It was the talk of the town,” said Arial Trampway spokesperson Michael Ralke.

Pettit and Ralke alleged that after a successful start, the owner changed his mind.

“It was too much. it was too over the top,” Ralke added.

The show was moved to an out-of-sight location and advertisements were slimmed down. They said even the poster out front was removed. Essentially, they claim that were forced to fail.

“Arial Trampway is a brand AND now it’s been damaged,” Pettit said. “So, we’ll have our day in court.”

Pettit said he received a settlement offer from the company that owns the hotel and franchise, but turned it down.

“We have the facts, the information, the witnesses,” said Ralke. “That’s what the Hard Rock is not happy about.”

A complaint made to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission was dismissed. Hill said that is because investigators could find no evidence to support the claims. Ralke said the claim is under review.

KESQ News Team


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