NEW BEDFORD — A New Bedford man claims he was told to leave a local restaurant while homophobic slurs were being hurled at him.

Jacob Froias, 25, says he was preparing to dine with his mother on Sunday at Al's Cafe on Belleville Avenue when he was approached by the owner and longtime family friend, Alsuino Cordeiro.

"He looked at me and said, 'You guys can't come here anymore," recalled Froias. "He was like, 'Oh, last time you were here, you and your little Filipino boyfriend were outside hugging and it made everyone uncomfortable. You essentially embarrassed the establishment."

Froias said he and his then-boyfriend had been at Al's Cafe sometime in May of this year when his partner stepped outside to smoke a cigarette. Froias embraced his boyfriend because it was cold.

Not wanting to cause trouble, Froias tells WBSM News he and his mother were leaving when Cordeiro made homophobic remarks.

"He was saying derogatory things towards me, like calling me a f****t."

Reached by phone on Monday morning, Marcia Cordeiro, Alsuino's wife, said, "I will not entertain any Facebook accusations."

Froias detailed his experience in a post to his personal Facebook profile on Sunday afternoon. Since then, his post has garnered over 500 shares. Many who have read the post or have heard of Froias' experience have left negative reviews of Al's Cafe on social media and Yelp.

Having been openly gay since he was a teenager, Froias says he has dealt with bigotry before, but not to the extent where he was refused service at a business.

"I've never really had to deal with this type of discrimination and the way I felt yesterday," said Froias. "After the situation, I sat in the car and I looked at my mom and I started crying."

"I don't understand how someone can treat another human being that way. I'm not hurting anyone."

After posting his story on Facebook, Froias says he and his family have received messages from several people affiliated with Al's Cafe, supporting the owner's alleged decision and verbal assault.

Courtesty of Jacob Froias
Courtesty of Jacob Froias

Some of those messages contained what Froias called "vague threats," including a text conversation between his mother and Marcia Cordeiro. In the thread, Marcia tells Froias' mother, "Jake opened a can of worms that he is going to have to deal with."

However, Froias has also received innumerable messages of support, including one from a woman who was present when the alleged incident took place.

"She messaged me and was saying, 'I went to follow you guys outside, but you had left too quickly. As soon as I got back inside, I grabbed my stuff, got up, and left because it was such an appalling thing to see."

Courtesy of Jacob Froias
Courtesy of Jacob Froias

Froias says he's "playing it by ear" as to whether he'll seek legal action against the owner of Al's Cafe, saying he's received advice from friends including filing complaints with the City of New Bedford Licensing Board, the Better Business Bureau, and the Attorney General's office. Froias says, though, he's not sure he wants to take matters that far.

"I'm not trying to effectively ruin someone's business and, essentially, their life. But they need to know that what they did was wrong and it's not acceptable in any way, shape, or form."

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