The manager of the Commercial Dr restaurant until recently known as Zesty's says the venue's name change has nothing to do with the allegedly homophobic incident that occurred there May 22.
"It has nothing to do with what happened," says Sal (who refused to give his last name). The name change to Zawa has been in the works for a year, he says, adding he just got the permit to change the name recently.
The incident is just something personal between the comedian and the women, he continues.
The incident in question happened last month when comedian Guy Earle aimed any-gay slurs at a lesbian couple while hosting Zesty's regular open mic night. He later broke one of the women's sunglasses after they threw water in his face.
Earle later admitted to Xtra West that he "literally said some offensive things to them." He was "pissed off" and "lost his cool."
Following the incident, some 11 straight allies and members of the lesbian community held a protest Jun 5 outside Zesty's. "We wanted to show our disdain over what took place and the lack of appropriate response from management," says Mark Roberts, a Commercial Dr resident who took part in the protest.
Sal told Xtra West last issue that he wasn't at Zesty's during the incident but that he offered to pay for the broken sunglasses when one of the women called the next day. He later retracted that offer when the woman spoke to him in a way that he characterized as "not nice."
Sal now says that Earle is no longer performing at Zawa. "He's not coming anymore," he says.