Restaurant apologizes after an NBA legend says he was turned away for being Black

Ama Nunoo May 25, 2021
Basketball Hall of Famer Dominique Wilkins took to Twitter to call out a restaurant for turning him away because of his skin color. Photo: Tom Benitez / Orlando Sentinel

NBA Hall of Famer Dominique Wilkins took to Twitter over the weekend to call out a restaurant in Atlanta for racial profiling. He said he was denied access to the restaurant because he is 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,” he wrote on Twitter.

The 61-year-old nine-time All-Star said the management of Le Bilboquet restaurant located in Atlanta’s popular Buckhead neighborhood initially told him the restaurant was full only to later say that his attire was not appropriate.

Le Bilboquet later apologized and then issued an official statement countering Wilkin’s reasons for being turned away from the restaurant. “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 (sic) wardrobe choices.

“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 sweatpants 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,” the statement read.

The backlash from Twitter was overwhelming, with many attesting to the fact that the restaurant has been called out for turning away almost every Black customer.

Following the criticisms, the restaurant reissued an apology via Instagram, saying it was never its intention for Wilkins to feel unwanted at its eatery which strives to be inclusive, Rolling Out reported.

“We want to apologize to Mr. Wilkins for his experience at our restaurant and also for any confusion our dress code may have caused,” the apology read. “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 are 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.”

French-born American Wilkins cemented his name in Atlanta’s history books during his 12 years with the Atlanta Hawks between 1982 and 1994 and he is now the vice-president for the Hawks.

He has had stints with Los Angeles Clippers, Boston Celtics, San Antonio Spurs, and Orlando Magic, among other teams.

Last Edited by:Mildred Europa Taylor Updated: May 26, 2021


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