Gay couple refused massage because they are not ‘a man and a woman’

Picture of the gay couple who were refused a couples massage in Naples, Florida.

A gay couple publicly denounced a massage parlour in Naples, Florida, saying they were denied their pre-paid couples massage because they were not a man and a woman.

Michael Garcia posted pictures of the parlour and a video of their exchange with the manager, identified as Jerry Liu in NBC News, on his social media platforms on Monday (March 4).

Garcia wrote that he and his boyfriend had prepaid $109 through a Groupon voucher for a couples massage at Joy Feet Spa.

He wrote: “When we arrived the manager refused to service us because we are two gay men. He made it clear it had to be a man and a woman. Even after we told him we already paid he still denied us the couples massage. Today my humanity has been tested.”

In the video, which has been received thousands of views on social media, the manager said: “A couples massage, like in the picture, it’s a man and a woman.”

He refused to accept the two men declaring their status as a couple and said the price for the service for two men would be $60 each, even though one of the gay men argues that the terms of the Groupon voucher do not state that it is only valid for heterosexual couples.

The manager also denied he was discriminating against the couple because they are gay, insisting that the couples massage voucher is for a man and a woman.

Massage parlour apologises to gay couple

Garcia’s posts sparked outrage, with several people leaving negative reviews and comments on the Joy Feet Spa social media platforms.

The massage parlour first posted a message of their Facebook page on Monday, simply stating: “We have couples massage $120 for two people (man and man or woman and woman and man and woman).”

A few hours later, a more personal message was posted on the page, apparently by the manager, apologising to the gay couple. The man blamed his reaction to the gay couple on a cultural misunderstanding.

“Just because you don’t see it or go through it doesn’t mean it’s not there.”

— Michael Garcia

“I am sorry! I think I am miss understanding about the couple meaning. Couple means a pair or two person considered as joined together as married or engaged pair lovers. However in my county, a couple means a man and a woman as couple. I never see a couple have same sex,” he wrote.

Adding various LGBT+ symbols and rainbows to the post, the man added: “So I am sorry, I didn’t mean discriminate any gay or lesbian. I respect any one find the true love and also I hope they will love each other forever whatever they are both men or woman. I NEVER EVER discriminate ANY gay or lesbian! So please do not miss understanding me! I am sorry for what happens, but please don’t ruin my job. I am only a guy move to American for a few years, I think American people will forgive the small mistake by the culture. Thank you!”

Picture of Joy Feet Spa, who refused a gay couple.

Joy Feet Spa apologised to the gay couple for refusing them service. (Michael Levenosa/Facebook)

In a separate post, the massage parlour offered a free massage to the couple: “Michael! I would say sorry to you and your boy friend. I miss understand the couple means. Could I do something to make up? I will give you and your boy friend one hour massage for free to say SORRY! Hope you and your boy friend happily ever are. Sorry again!”

Judging by the reactions to the post, few believe the apology is genuine—and neither does Garcia, who has yet to receive a refund for the voucher. “I feel like they just apologized because of all the attention that they got and all the bad reviews,” he told Yahoo Lifestyle.

Speaking to NBC News Garcia clarified that, while he and his partner will not tale up the offer for a free massage, “we’re all human and deserve forgiveness.”

Garcia also thanked people who showed their support in a Facebook post on Tuesday (March 5).

He wrote: “Thank you to all my friends that are supporting us through this and sharing my post ❤️ never in my my life have I experienced that smh but just because you don’t see it or go through it doesn’t mean it’s not there this world can be so crazy sometimes!”