West Hollywood Bar The Abbey Sues Patron After Drugging Allegation

FILE PHOTO: A barman prepare a Campari orange  cocktail in a Milan bar
A new defamation lawsuit filed by the Abbey alleges that Haely White falsely accused a bartender of drugging her.
REUTERS/Stefano Rellandini/File Photo

The Abbey, a popular LGBTQ bar in West Hollywood, filed a lawsuit in Los Angeles Superior Court on August 17 alleging that comedy writer Haely White falsely accused a bartender of drugging her at the bar in July.

On August 3, White, who is also an actress, wrote on social media that she was “severely drugged by a bartender” at that bar on July 29 and asked others to “spread the word” and avoid the establishment, according to City News Service and Spectrum News 1, which obtained the lawsuit. The bar said they reviewed security footage that dispelled the entertainer’s claims, and according to the lawsuit, the Abbey alerted White about her alleged false statements and allowed her to review the video.

“The footage shows that during her time at the Abbey, nothing out of the ordinary was put in her drink…” the lawsuit states. “At no time can any Abbey personnel, or any other person for that matter, be seen tampering with her drink.”

The bar added, “Despite notification from the Abbey of these facts, White defiantly continued to propagate her false claims, resulting in countless republications of her statements.”

The Abbey’s suit further claims that the negative publicity has taken an economic toll on the bar and now they are seeking more than $5 million in damages to restore their reputation and make up for a slew of missed opportunities.

In a statement on August 15, White retracted her allegations, noting that the incident was “not the fault of Abbey or their staff.”

“Obviously, what happened to me that evening was shocking and painful … however, based on my review of video footage, I now believe that what happened to me that night was not the fault of The Abbey or their staff,” White tweeted. “Having met with The Abbey staff to review video from the night I was there, I believe their actions demonstrate they are truly concerned about the safety of their patrons, and take measures to make their establishment safe.”

However, White started pushed back against the Abbey in a series of Instagram posts — including in an August 16 post stating that there was more to the story.

“There is an important additional detail — the footage also shows me collapsing off the seat at a booth not long after having my drink,” White said. “It shows me being assisted out of the bar by a friend and amazing [woman] I didn’t know. I am deeply touched by the women who stepped in to ensure I was okay.”

By August 20, White ramped up her criticism of The Abbey even further for their response to the allegations and for elevating the issue to the press. White alleged that the bar’s actions amounted to “victim shaming 101.”

“I tried to do what’s right to resolve the situation, and they’re being utter and complete bullies,” wrote White in the Instagram post. “They are ruthlessly attacking me for no reason. It’s clear they don’t want me to say a word and are trying to limit my free speech. They even tried to get me to agree to silence, but I said no. When they couldn’t get me to agree to what they wanted, they sued me anyway even though I did what I agreed to do. But this is very much in line with how bullies act, and quite frankly, they messed with the wrong woman.”

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