The co-owner of a South Palm Canyon Drive cannabis dispensary is under fire after allegations that she refused to allow a transgender man to access the men’s restroom. Typical of videos that go viral, she said, only one side of the story was filmed.
“I know who I am, and I know I don’t treat people like that,” said Julie Montante, one of the owners at Four Twenty Bank Dispensary and Lounge on South Palm Canyon Drive, when reached by phone Thursday evening. “Everybody who knows me knows I don’t treat people like that.”
In the video posted on TikTok by user @devroyal100 last week, Montante is heard telling Dev to “try to get over whatever is bothering you” and that he is “very aggressive.” Montante said Thursday evening her remarks were not about the person’s gender, but rather his behavior in her store.
“If you know me, I am the furthest thing from transphobic,” she said. “I don’t care what bathroom you use. I don’t have a problem with that. After he used the bathroom, he tried to bully me, and I said, ‘you need to get over whatever bothers you.'”
The video starts after Dev reportedly tried to access the men’s bathroom on July 24 and was denied entry. He said that he provided his ID, which has his deadname but an updated male gender marker, but was told that it was “not enough.”
Montante, however, said Dev was never denied entry into the men’s restroom and only began filming after exiting it. Security camera footage supplied to The Post appears to support that claim.
In subsequent videos posted to TikTok, Dev said he was trying to educate Montante and was hoping for a chance that the conflict could be resolved on the spot.
Montante said she has been a frequent contributor to LGBTQ community groups in Palm Springs and that her store actively hosts and promotes events to benefit the transgender population. She said she also hoped for a learning opportunity and remains open to discussing the events. What bothers her most now, she said, is the effect the incident could have on members of the LGBTQ community.
“It’s very heartbreaking that this person decided to want to hurt somebody,” Montante said. “This person has lied and really manipulated the transgender community. Instead of educating people, he wanted to condemn people.”
Also at issue, she said, is the effect on her staff. After the video surfaced, there were calls for boycotts and for protests outside the business, including one scheduled this evening at 6 PM. Negative reviews on Yelp and other sites were also encouraged. A visit to the business’s Yelp page today shows an “unusual activity alert,” indicating that people leaving reviews were doing so based on reports in the news not on actual visits to the business.
“They’ve just bombarded us,” she said of callers, some of whom have threatened her employees. “I’m not taking calls anymore. It’s gotten out of hand, and people need to learn to decipher what’s true and not true.”