toronto taxi

Toronto cab driver denies kicking out passenger for being gay

A video of a Toronto man who was allegedly kicked out a taxi cab for being gay went viral on Facebook, sparking a conversation online that garnered hundreds of comments and thousands of views.

But the cab driver who's being accused of discrimination is denying the allegations, claiming it was it the passenger's unruly behaviour that made him cancel the ride, not his sexual orientation. 

It's been a tennis match of accusations between Travis Paul, a 26-year-old musical theatre performer, and Abdi Hussein, the taxi driver who picked him up early Friday morning outside of Fynn's of Temple Bar near King and Bathurst.

According to Paul, who was heading home and flagged down Hussein's car around 2:30 a.m., the first few minutes of their interaction "was a very supportive, very friendly conversation at first."

"We were just making some small talk, and we ended up on the topic of homophobia." 

Paul says he began to talk about missing his boyfriend of two and a half years, who was out of town for work, when suddenly the driver stopped the car at around Bathurst and Bloor and insisted that Paul get out. 

Nowhere near his intended destination at Dufferin and Eglinton, Paul stayed in the car, until the driver got out to open the back door for him.

"He had no other reason to kick me out. I wasn't belligerent, I wasn't throwing up, I wasn't harassing him," he says. 

The video that Paul posted to Facebook—which has since been made private—was recorded shortly after he was asked to exit the taxi.

In the video, the driver can be heard repeatedly denying Paul's accusations of kicking him out of the cab because of his sexual orientation, saying only, "We are not comfortable my friend, it's okay." 

At one point, Hussein calls the police on Paul for refusing to leave his cab. Paul alleges he heard Hussein refer to him as a "gay man" in the phone call, to which Paul responds in the video,"You don't say that, not in Canada." 

Hussein has a different version of events. In an interview with CTV News, he said that's he's never discriminated against anybody, and that Paul was exhibiting drunken and racist behaviour.

"He said, 'I’m Canadian.' He used the F-word. 'I’m Canadian.' The man was discriminating,” he said.

He also says that his car's dashboard camera recorded Paul kicking the back of his seat, though multiple attempts by Hussein and CTV to retrieve that footage failed.

Paul denies the allegations of racism, and says he'd like to see footage of his supposed unruly behaviour from the dashboard camera.

"I would like to see actual proof before he makes these allegations," said Paul to CTV.

The city's municipal licensing and standards division is now investigating the incident. 

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