Haymarket bar owner allegedly compared rape assault allegations - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Haymarket bar owner allegedly compared rape assault allegations to 'civil rights struggles'

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – When Haymarket Whiskey Bar owner Matthew Landan first learned he had been accused on a Nov. 13 Facebook post of raping a woman, he sent a group text to his employees comparing his plight “to the civil rights struggles of African-Americans,” according to court records.

In records filed as part of Landan’s defamation lawsuit against two women who accused him of sexual assault and two former employees who allegedly staged a walkout forcing the temporary closure of the NuLu bar, attorneys for the employees claim Landan “made light” of the allegations and compared his situation to the civil rights struggle.

“I don’t care how many f---ing trolls are on the farm Its (sic) like Public Enemy used to say a nation of millions can’t hold us back,” Landan allegedly texted his employees, according to the documents.

Landan called an allegation that he had defecated on a woman “literally sh--,” according to the records.

The employees named in Landan’s suit, and now plaintiffs in a counterclaim, Eric Snider and Christopher Maggio, deny engineering a walkout, but say they did discuss safety concerns with Landan for any employees who had to open the bar after a woman posted a picture of Landan on Facebook on Nov. 13, saying, "Matthew Landan is a rapist." Another woman who claimed Landan spiked her drink has filed a counterclaim lawsuit against him.

The employees are accused of defamation for telling the media about the walkout and saying there had been similar sexual assault claims against Landan. Landan also claims that after the walkout, Snider and Maggio "attempted a low ball purchase offer" for the bar. 

In the court records filed Thursday, the employees claim Landan “unilaterally decided to close Haymarket indefinitely and ‘until further notice’” during a meeting with Maggio, Snider and Landan’s attorney at the time, according to the records.

And Snider and Maggio deny exaggerating the number of accusers against Landan, claiming all of the Haymarket employees were receiving information and they did not “vouch for or enforce the credibility of the accusations,” according to the court documents.

Snider, according to the records, was told of eight additional women accusing Landan of rape and “did express concern about the statistical likelihood that all nine accusers were bringing false allegations.”

The employees acknowledge discussing purchasing the bar with Landan – telling him there was “little hope” in the bar remaining open given the public reaction to the allegations - but claim they did not try and “coerce” or low-ball him. The employees claim they offered to pay $100,000 for the bar - as an opening negotiation - “hardly a ‘lowball’ offer.”

Attorneys for the employees included text messages between the employees and Landan discussing the sale of the bar.

Landan, who was accused by multiple women of drugging and sexually assaulting them, has not been criminally charged.

Both men acknowledged one of them suggested Landan move to a beach somewhere and “open a scuba shop,” saying in the records that Landan had discussed that idea previously.

The NuLu bar owner accused of rape on social media said he's been attacked.

Landan has said he has been assaulted and his property vandalized since the original Facebook post. Someone threw a condiment in his face during a bourbon event last weekend, he said. 

The words "Rape Van" was also spray-painted on his white van.

"It has taken a toll. He has to worry about where he parks his vehicles and changing locks on his house multiple times," attorney Andrew Horne, who represents Landan said on Wednesday. "Each time he's taken a step outside the litigation to move forward and basically get back to normal, he's gotten pushback."

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