Local News

Restaurant Exec Sought Gay Sex, Ex-Employee Says

Posted September 19, 2007

— The founder of one of the state's largest barbecue and fried chicken restaurant chains tried to coerce a former male employee into a homosexual relationship, the former employee testified Wednesday in a civil trial.

Jason Hallaman sued Gregory Moore, the founder of Smithfield's Chicken 'n Bar-B-Q, three years ago, claiming that Hallaman had been fired as Moore's personal assistant because he repeatedly rebuffed his boss' sexual advances. Moore has denied the allegations and countersued, and the trial in the case began Wednesday in Wake County.

Moore opened the first Smithfield's restaurant in 1980 and is the chief executive of Smithfield Management Corp., which operates the chain of 32 restaurants across eastern North Carolina.

Hallaman testified that he served as Moore's assistant between July 2002 and October 2002 and that the homosexual harassment from Moore began on his first day on the job.

"I was mortified and angry and upset,'" Hallaman testified. "(I told him) 'I'm not gay and you can't make me gay, and I'm not playing this game.'"

He said he drove Moore to the executive's beach house and lake house several times that summer, and Moore once climbed in the shower with him and another time came into his room and sat down on his bed.

"He's just running his hand up my leg, and I'm telling him that's not a good idea and I'm pushing his hand away. He said, 'I don't want to try to get fresh. I just want some company,'" Hallaman testified.

After he was fired, Hallaman said, Moore had him arrested and charged with trespassing and forgery. He said he had, at Moore's request, signed Moore's name to a check to pay for automobile detailing.

Moore admitted in pre-trial depositions that he is bisexual, but he denied making advances to Hallaman. He said Hallaman was fired for poor job performance and the dispute over the check.

Two other former Smithfield's employees, both men, also filed sexual harassment lawsuits against Moore. One was settled, and the second hasn't gone to trial yet.


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  • 2alegal Sep 21, 2007

    Smithfields was the first job I ever had....It is potato salad and slaw.....The BBQ is so good....Heck even the BBQ chicken is good....I know the family well and they truly are good people.

  • xfiles Sep 21, 2007

    I have seen this firsthand!

    When I lived in Raleigh, NC many years ago I had an apartment next door to one of Mr. Moore's assistants. He was a very nice neighbor. He was young and handsome and single. Mr. Moore would come by and pick this guy up all the time in his very nice sports car. One day my neighbor moves out and throws away all his belongs in the trash containers out in back of the apartment complex. I mean everything was thrown out. Clothes, furniture, phone all types of paperwork including his tax forms and items you would never think anyone would throw away. Of course I had to look through the items because there was so much really good stuff just thrown out by the trash. I was shocked. I never heard from or saw my neighbor after that. I have always wondered what happened to him. I hope he is well and was not hurt in any way. He went by a nickname but I know his real name. I have not seen his real name mentioned in any of the news articles so far.

  • johnpfranklin Sep 20, 2007

    Oh and the crying on the news reel...it looked incredibly fake. No Oscars for Mr. Hallaman!

  • johnpfranklin Sep 20, 2007

    Amen, Polly! I had the same reaction. Hallaman seems pretty slimy. I heard that he admitted on the stand today that he wasn't fired for refusing sexual advances but instead for forging the boss' check. So which is it guy? Oh wait, I know, it's the answer that gets you a largest sum of money!

    What a sleeze!

    I would guess the other suits were filed by other opportunistic sleezes who look at a gay CEO whose business might suffer if he is publicly outed as an easy target. Kudos to Smithfield's for not caving to extortion attempts (aka confidential settlements). It takes guts to go through a whole trial with a sleeze like Hallaman making all these outrageous statements. There is no stopping lying. Just discrediting the liar.

    I haven't heard anything so far that gives credit to Hallaman. He makes me want to take a bath!

  • Polly Sep 20, 2007

    I know zero about the evidence in this case; but what little I've seen on TV of the "victim" makes me want to take a bath. He oozes money-seeking to me and an admittedly bisexual, rich boss is an easy target. What got me was going back to the job after an alleged homosexual advance. Can't speak for all men but can assure you that there isn't any job my husband would want that bad. Sexual harassment is wrong whether is same or opposite sex; however, this guy just doesn't ring true to me.

  • bbad238 Sep 20, 2007

    I can't believe all of you who say you're never going to eat at Smithfield's again. Go eat at your corner store, it's not going to affect Mr. Moore if you don't spend 1 penny at his restaurant. Besides, it's not like Mr. Moore is at any of these restaurants making food. It's other hard working Americans like yourself trying to make a living. Think about that before you decide to be so closed-minded.

  • oldrebel Sep 20, 2007

    It would seem to me that the job entailed (no pun intended) being at the beck and call of the boss at all times and places. That's what a personal assistant is supposed to do. But I wuld thnk the boss slipping into the shower with the employee, or laying on the same bad is just a bit more than the average worker is expected to put up with. If this were a female employee making the exact same specifications against a boss, I believe the woodwork would be alive with those who saw the actions as unlawful, as well as unwanted.

  • Kelbad1 Sep 20, 2007

    Amen Clancy! Why go with him tto the beach and lake. I've never cared for Smithfield Chicken and BBQ mainly cause it's no good and way too greasy. But, why would the former employee go with him there? Good question.

  • dohicky Sep 20, 2007

    Same old story just different sex partner. I grew up working at cafe's and there is something about these guys that makes them think they can hit on their help. Probably the same in other businesses, even today with all the laws. The best thing someone can do is avoid situations or quit. Can't believe he went to the beachhouse with him if he was uncomfortable about advances.

  • Kris0805 Sep 20, 2007

    I'm just trying to figure out why all of you are saying you will never eat there again because of some money hungry ex-employee is filing a lawsuit and Mr. Moore has not even been found guilty yet?