Attorneys Abre’ Conner and Novella Coleman, attorneys for the American Civil Liberties Union, thought they were in for a night of drinks and karaoke a The Bring, a Fresno, California bar, but say they were kicked out because they were black.
“But before our song was called, a bar employee came up and said we had to buy drinks to sing karaoke,” they wrote on the ACLU’s website. “Another bartender lunged at us within inches of our faces and shouted ‘Buy drinks!’”
“A second bartender — a very tall and large man — shouted louder and louder that we were loitering and that the bar wasn’t a hangout place,” they wrote. “Over and over again he pushed his body up against Abre’ — who is just 5’4” tall — to force her out of the bar.”
The two women were the only black people in the bar.
“We pointed out that the bar staff was only using the rule against us and we seemed to be the only two Black people in the bar,” they wrote.
Eventually, the bar called the police, who escorted the women out of the bar.
“The bartender and police claimed to be exercising the business’ supposed ‘right’ to refuse service,” they wrote. “This sounds too much like when the country still had ‘colored’ sections and racially segregated water fountains. But this happened in March 2016.”
The bar denies the accusations of racism. And in an interview with The Huffington Post, bar manager Heidi Wilson gave her side of the story.
“It’s not a racial thing whatsoever; that is 100 percent false… it’s because they were loitering and didn’t purchase anything,” Wilson continued, adding “they refused to leave and the police were on our side and escorted them out… might I say that we have so much different culture in here, and we absolutely love it. Everybody has such a wonderful time.”