It seem the problem of racism and racial discrimination in America is a long way from being eradicated in spite of the escalation which resulted last year from #BlackLivesMatter movement.
NBA legend Dominique Wilkins took to social media, revealing in a tweet that an Atlanta restaurant discriminated against him. According to moguldom.com, the Atlanta Hawks superstar and Basketball Hall of Famer tweeted on May 22 that Le Bilboquet in Buckhead turned him away for being Black.
“In my many years in the world, I’ve eaten at some of the greatest restaurants in the world, but never have I felt prejudice or been turned away because of the color of my skin, until today in #atlanta In @LeBilboquetAtl. #turnedawaybecauseimblack” Wilkins tweeted.
Instead of immediately apologizing to Wilkins, the restaurant initially blamed the incident on its dress code policy, Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.
“We, at Le Bilboquet, do our best to accommodate all of our guests. However, we have received consistent complaints from our patrons regarding other guest’s wardrobe choices,” the statement read. “As a result, to protect our restaurant’s culture, we installed a minimum standard in our ‘business casual’ attire dress code which includes jeans and sneakers but prohibits baseball caps and athletic clothing including sweat pants and tops. Though the definition of ‘casual’ is ever evolving, we strive to maintain our policy requirements daily but it isn’t a perfect system.”
Wilkins acknowledged the dress code situation in a separate tweet. “… they looked me up and down …. and to add insult, talked about how my clothes were not appropriate when I was wearing designer casual pants and a shirt.”
The restaurant has since apologized in a posted statement online that read: “We want to apologize to Mr. Wilkins for his experience at our restaurant and also for any confusion our dress code may have caused. We in no way intended for him to feel unwanted, and welcome an open dialogue with him. Our upscale dining experience and our brand’s culture is made up of multiple elements, which include our music, our food, and our patrons’ attire. We continue to strive to manifest our dining experience in a way that is exciting and most importantly, inclusive.”
Twitter wasn’t having it, saying that other guests appeared to be wearing baseball caps.
Hip-hop legend Chuck D tweeted, “The man @DWilkins21 culturally built Atlanta for the 21st Century. Helping the ATL go from a southern town into a cosmopolitan international city. Post Henry Aaron mr Wilkins socially helped make the region attractive hence the migration circa the 1996 Olympics. Shame on them”.
“In Atlanta?? A city you put on the map for years???? That is unacceptable. NOBODY BLACK should step 1 single foot in that establishment again, EVER!!” tweeted Patrick Sparks @dogmanp_sparks.
LIBRA @ATLHAZELEYES27 tweeted, “It’s a damn shame when a legend of this city can’t get served at a restaurant of his choice because of the ignorance and white privilege of some people. But some people want us black folks to believe racism doesn’t exist anymore.”
Dress codes at Atlanta restaurants and elsewhere have been accused of arbitrary enforcement, with complaints that similarly attired white and Black patrons are treated differently, Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.
In 2020, Umi Sushi faced threats of a boycott over enforcement of its dress code after a Black couple from Atlanta said they were discriminated against, Eater reported. In Baltimore, a restaurant apologized after a video showed a Black woman and her son being denied service in June because of the boy’s clothes while a white child dressed a similar way was served. Robert Johnson, the first Black U.S. billionaire and co-founder of BET Networks, said in 2018 he was denied his reserved room at the Eau Palm Beach hotel in Florida and racially profiled, theGrio reported.
And Le Bilboquet came under fire earlier this month after a woman complained that she was denied service because she was in a tracksuit yet she noticed several other people on the restaurant’s patio in shorts, T-shirts, ripped jeans, and sneakers, CBS 46 reported.