Typically, the tossing of cocktails in the Garden State is reserved for Bergen County, where The Real Housewives of New Jersey have made the act into an art form. This past weekend however, patrons at Fred & Ethel’s Lantern Light and Tavern in the quaint and historic town of Smithville, New Jersey (located in Galloway Township) witnessed Michael Smurro, vice principal of Neptune Middle School in Monmouth County, NJ tossing beer and being a party to an anti-trans rant, all of which was caught on film. The incident has now resulted in the small-town New Jersey vice principal being placed under investigation
The incident began when a patron (who goes by Peach CC on Facebook) witnessed (and recorded) Smurro and his wife Lisa bickering with fellow patrons and Fred & Ethel’s after his wife was loudly complaining that a transgender woman was using the women’s bathroom. “A man just went into the women’s bathroom and it’s not right” Lisa Smurro emphatically (and loudly) stated. “It’s not right…She’s a man. In my bathroom.”
“She literally just started going off, loud as hell, without cause,” says Carrie, who shot the videos. Carrie asked the Smurro’s to “take their hatred elsewhere” and the couple, who were already outside the ropes of the restaurant, were asked to leave by Carrie’s waitress. At the conclusion of the incident, Michael Smurro walked back to where his wife was and tossed a beer at Carrie’s table, in what looks to be attempt to start to bait the man sitting with Carrie into a possible physical altercation. Smurro took several steps back, gestured towards himself several times saying “now you can come out, I’m right here” before walking away to jeers from the outside patrons at the restaurant.
For her part, Lisa Smurro remains unclear as to why this incident has a high-profile incident in Garden State circles. She told the site BreakingAC that the whole incident began “because somebody was in a bathroom they shouldn’t have been in.” It should be noted that the law in NJ prohibits discrimination based on gender identity. Additionally, it permits people to use public restrooms that correspond to their gender identity.
On the Neptune school district website, a posted statement reads:
“This event is troubling as its perception potentially threatens the social-emotional well-being and climate of belonging that our Neptune School District community represents.
The actions shown in the video do not reflect our district’s commitment to inclusivity, cooperation, respect, and non-violence.
The Board of Education and Superintendent will respond to this incident in a manner that is appropriate and relative to the seriousness of the situation and that takes into consideration the impact this incident has had on the reputation of our wonderful district”
Smurro and his wife have also commented on the incident courtesy of NBC 10 Philadelphia, who reported on the story below.
WATCH: Video shows the vice principal of a New Jersey school tossing beer at restaurant patrons who were filming his wife’s rant against a transgender woman who had used the bathroom. @tedgreenbergNBC has the story coming up on NBC10 News: https://t.co/ECvdaakLxw
— NBC10 Philadelphia (@NBCPhiladelphia) April 27, 2021
The woman that filmed the incident has received numerous incidents of hate directly on her Facebook page, the majority of which were along the same lines of Mrs. Smurro’s discriminatory rant. The woman (who goes by Carrie) told Instinct exclusively:
“It’s deeply concerning and unsettling that adults who are both parents and held positions in the educational system would stoop as low as the remarks and behaviors in these videos. The LGBTQIA community deserves better and our children need to feel safe and supported always. Personally I struggle to understand why the couple in the videos demands a certain level of respect, but is completely unwilling to allow anyone else to have even a sliver.”
The video does not show a transgender woman who according to Mrs. Smurro, was using the women’s restroom, nor could her identity be determined.