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When Vincenzo Cugno Garrano suggested to Marco Scatena that the two Italian nationals should open a restaurant together, Scatena was all in.
He invested “all of his personal money,” according to PinkNews, and got a bank loan, making him a 30 percent shareholder in Piatto, which opened in London in January 2018.
But things quickly went downhill. Despite being one of four directors, Scatena never received a dividend payment. Then, the homophobic name-calling started.
Tim Jeurninck, Scatena’s husband, worked at Piatto as a server. One day, Fabio Corona, on of Piatto’s directors, repeatedly called Jeurninck a “waitress.” He also called him “frocio,” which is Italian for f****t.
One time time, Garrano presented Jeurninck with a glass, saying, “I thought you people knew how to clean better.”
According to a fellow employee, Garrano exclusively spoke in Italian around Jeurninck, who is Dutch, to exclude him. He also repeatedly called him a f****t.
Another time, Garrano threatened Jeurninck, saying he had family ‘in the Mafia’ that could kill him.
In September 2018, Garrano sent Scatena a screenshot of a WhatsApp message from the other directors discussing how they planned to kick Scatena out by framing him for stealing money.
As a result, Scatena had an anxiety attack that forced him to take unpaid sick leave.
Jeurninck resigned in December 2018, claiming he hadn’t been paid since March, followed by Scatena in April 2019.
At a remedy hearing, Judge Alexander Green ruled that the couple had been discriminated against because of their sexual orientation.
“We believe there was a sustained campaign that was motivated by homophobic behaviour to force [Mr. Scatena] out of the business,” Green told The Daily Mail.
Jeurninck and Scatena were compensated £41,732 and £83,102, respectively, for “injury to feelings.” A total of about £120,000.
According to Google, Piatto is now permanently closed.