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Yoko Ono publicist sues Batali eatery in NYC over 'homophobic' flap

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Yoko Ono's publicist is suing Eataly, celebrity chef Mario Batali's New York food emporium, claiming the bouncers at the popular Manhattan eatery shouted homophobic slurs at him and hurled him through a glass window.

Kip Kouri suffered a gash on his leg that required stitches, cuts on his head and injuries to both knees in the assault on July 17, his lawyer, Richard Klass, said on Friday.

An Eataly spokeswoman denied anyone used homophobic slurs and said security guards had to forcefully remove Kouri from the restaurant, the New York Daily News reported.

"While doing so, the whole group banged into the glass window, which crashed, injuring all involved, including our guards," Cristina Villa was quoted as saying in the News story.

A representative from Eataly did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment.

Kouri is seeking $10 million in punitive damages and unspecified damages for personal injury for the "severe emotional distress" and physical injuries he endured, according to court documents filed in state Supreme Court in Manhattan.

It all started around 9 p.m. on Juy 17 when Kouri, his stepmother, his sister and his boyfriend were waiting for a table at the crowded eatery and found out the staff had given away their reservation, Klass said.

"That created a fuss that ended up in a loud argument. They started calling him names, referring to him as being homosexual," Klass said.

"The bouncers threw him through a plate glass window and he ended up on the street," Klass said.

The emotional hurt was as deep as the physical for Kouri, whose firm Tell All Your Friends P.R. represents Ono, Les Savy Fav and other music celebrities.

"These slurs added salt to the wounds," Klass said.

(Reporting by Barbara Goldberg; Editing by Sandra Maler)

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