Rich Allison, Allan Candelore, and Harry Crouch got their knickers in a twist when they showed up at a casual networking mixer for women in San Diego and were allegedly turned away at the door. The event was being hosted by Chic CEO, an online resource dedicated to helping women starting their own business. Two months later, the three men filed a discrimination lawsuit against the company and its founder, Stephanie Burns.

First things first, you should know that Rich Allison, Allan Candelore, and Harry Crouch are all Men’s Rights Activists (or MRAs). More specifically, as Hannah Levintova of Mother Jones reports, they are members of “the nation’s oldest men’s rights group, the National Coalition for Men, and Crouch is the NCFM’s president.” Their suit against Chic CEO/Burns is their second of its kind – they sued Women on Course, a group that introduces women to golf, for not letting them participate in a golf clinic. And they are sadly part of a larger growing trend among MRAs in California who have invoked a decades-old, broad civil rights law, the Unruh Act, to allege discrimination against men, via both lawsuits and threats.

Unfortunately, to the detriment of their targets’ companies, brands and livelihoods, their thuggery and crafty use of the law is working… not only to the MRAs’ advantage, but to their financial gain.

“All Chic CEO is trying to do is provide women with the information they need to get a business started. Just because we help women, doesn’t mean we hurt men. – Stephanie Burns”

In Stephanie’s case, she settled with Allison, Candelore, and Crouch for an undisclosed sum. “As a result of the suit, Burns got a new job and shrunk the business she’d built over six years, suffering a ‘significant’ financial and personal toll.” Donna Hoffman, the president of Women on Course, also settled with them.

One of the biggest villains in this very real and scary nightmare is Alfred G. Rava, a San Diego-based attorney “who is also the NCFM’s secretary and free legal consultant.” He has filed “more than 150 sex discrimination lawsuits in the last 12 years, many citing the Unruh Act.” In 2009, “Rava won a half-million-dollar settlement from the Oakland A’s for a class-action suit that contested a Mother’s Day promotion where the A’s gave the first 7,500 women to arrive at the ballpark that weekend a sun hat.”

Based on his track record, it probably won’t come as a surprise to learn that Rava is connected to the three men who went after Stephanie Burns and Donna Hoffman. “… in San Diego court records, [Allan] Candelore has been a plaintiff in 12 civil cases since 2011. In 10 of those 12 cases, he was represented by Rava. In nine of those, [Harry] Crouch was also a plaintiff, and in eight of them [Rich] Allison was a plaintiff.”

There is so much more to this story and you can read it in full at Mother Jones