Friday, August 12, 2022

Baltimore Restaurant Denies Discriminating Against Black Mother, Son Over Athletic Shorts [VIDEO]

*The Atlas Restaurant Group is facing a lawsuit after a manager at one of its eateries refused entry to a Black mother and her son because the child’s athletic-style clothing violated the dress code.

Marcia Grant says she and her 9-year-old son, Dallas, were turned away from Ouzo Bay on June 21 because of his athletic shorts. But mom says she spotted a white child who was dressed nearly identically enjoying a meal, TMZ reports. 

In a lawsuit filed against the restaurant group in Baltimore City Circuit Court Thursday, Grant alleges that the company discriminated against them, and that the incident caused a great deal of emotional distress. She’s seeking $450,000 in damages.

The company insists there was nothing racist about refusing service to Grant and her son. 

In response to her accusations, Atlas — the parent company of Ouzo Bay — claims the boy’s shorts were quite different from the white kid’s. Below is a photo of the shorts they presented as evidence.

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Marcia Grant case
via TMZ

Via TMZ:

Its explanation is the white kid was wearing “J. Crew ‘khaki’” type shorts, with front and back pockets, a zipper, and button closure in front.”

Beyond breaking down zippers and pockets … Atlas released screen grabs from Ouzo’s surveillance video showing other Black customers in the restaurant around the time Marcia and Dallas were denied.

As Atlas puts it, “Restaurant surveillance video throughout that same day at Ouzo Bay demonstrates that the customers of Ouzo Bay look exactly like the population of Baltimore City – diverse. Countless African-American patrons were welcomed into the restaurant that day to enjoy its food, atmosphere, and drinks.”

The company fired two employees following the incident, not because they had discriminated against the family but because “Atlas was not satisfied with the level of sensitivity, discretion, and judgment demonstrated by management on-duty at the time.”

In a statement, attorney Scott H. Marder, who is representing Atlas, said Grant has not responded to “more than a dozen” attempts by the company to make things right

Instead, they claim, “she was busy interviewing attorneys, hiring a publicist and setting up a GoFundMe — which has now been taken down — for Dallas,” TMZ writes. 

“Sadly, taken away is the unique opportunity for diverse adults to come together, set an example, openly communicate, manage conflict, and model behavior that many would benefit from,” Marder said. “Atlas had hoped to avoid this unnecessary and destructive point that is unlikely to result in a positive outcome for anyone, particularly a young, impressionable child. Nonetheless, Atlas will continue to take steps to address this incident and reinforce its commitment to equity, fairness, and inclusion for everyone.”

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Ny MaGee
Ny MaGee is an entertainment reporter with over 15 years of experience working in the film industry in areas including production and post-production, marketing, distribution, and acquisitions. She has worked for legendary film producer Roger Corman, Quentin Tarantino's production team at Miramax, the late Larry Flynt, MTV/ VH1, Hallmark Channel, Paramount, Jim Henson Co., Parade Magazine, and various LA-based companies representing above-the-line talent.

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