The staff at Jason Aldean’s Kitchen + Rooftop Bar was accused of racial profiling over the weekend, a story that has since gained viral attention.
According to Yahoo Lifestyle, a woman named Laura Murphy tried to enter Jason Aldean’s bar with her husband and a group of friends on Saturday night, however, they were turned away because her husband was wearing a hoodie. When he offered to remove his hoodie, the group was told to leave by the bouncer, although many other patrons were wearing hoodies without incident. The only difference? Laura’s husband is black.
Here’s Laura’s story, which has since garnered almost 9,000 comments and over 16,000 shares on Facebook.
“This weekend we came to Nashville with some of our friends. Last night we went out to Broadway. It was around 37 degrees outside. We went to a few places and had a lot of fun. Around midnight we decided to walk over to Jason Aldean’s Kitchen and Rooftop Bar. There was a pretty long line to get in, so we waited. When we got to the front, our ID’s were checked and we started to walk up the stairs. My husband, who is black, was first in line and was stopped by a bouncer and told he couldn’t come in because he was wearing a hoodie. He asked if he could just take it off, and was told no that he had to leave. As he walked down the other side of the stairs and the rest of us followed, there were three other black men at the bottom watching people enter. These three had all also been turned away because of some dress code violation. Not all of them were in hoodies so I’m not sure what they violated. I’ve searched their website and have yet to find a dress code policy, nor was one posted outside. We were in a group of five, the other four of us being white. We all walked back down the stairs, mostly dumbfounded, but as we turned around we noticed numerous people coming out of the bar with hoodies on. They all were white. We asked them if they were asked to leave and they all said no, they had been there for hours. We also watched two white men be allowed to enter by removing their hoodies. Of course, we all were angry at this point and tried to ask the bouncer why these other men could remove their hoodies, and why we’d seen multiple men coming out wearing them. Of course we knew why. But nobody would say it. The bouncer just said that they were radioing down to him telling him he couldn’t let them enter. He did call a manager, who only escalated the situation so much so that when she ran after one of our friends screaming, her own associates were yelling at her that she was going to lose her job. We walked to another bar, and had zero problems the rest of the night because of the threatening hoodie and black skin of my husband.”
Laura went on to explain that while her interracial marriage of nearly 20 years has seen some dirty looks, she has never once seen this outward display of blatant racism. The moral of the story? It’s completely unacceptable.
“Now. I’ve been with my husband for almost 20 years. We’ve sat in restaurants and never been waited on, we’ve experienced passive racism in our daily lives. But NEVER in my life have I seen such an outwardly blatant display of racism in person. People live this every day because they happen to have black skin. It’s easy for those of us without the daily reminder to walk around oblivious to the behaviors of others. This world needs to change, and without telling stories like this, we send the message that this is OK. It most definitely is not.”
“I’m making this post public and asking you to share it. If you’re ever in Nashville, I’d just ask that you do not patronize Jason Aldean’s Kitchen and Rooftop Bar. There are so many fun places here, who welcome people of all skin tones. Just enjoy yourselves and be kind. I’ve included a pic of me and my very threatening black husband in his hoodie from last night.”
According to Laura, the 3rd party security service that employs the security staff at Jason Aldean’s Bar has since reached out to apologize for the situation and has confirmed that hoodies are indeed allowed inside the bar.
“I did want to update and let everyone know that I just received a call from their 3rd party security service owner, who apologized for the situation and acknowledged the incident. He did say that he’s taking care of it with his associates. He himself is a black man married to a white woman, and completely understood the situation. He was very cordial, and I’m confident that he will do everything in his power to make sure this doesn’t happen again. I hope some change takes place and nobody else experiences this at this restaurant/bar or others in Nashville. Other than this incident, we had an amazing trip to Nashville. I appreciate them taking the time to call me and talk about it. For the record, he believes this was a miscommunication between staff members and that hoodies ARE allowed in the restaurant/bar.”
The restaurant group that owns the bar has released a statement to Fox 17 Nashville which states that they are “horrified” by the incident and will continue to investigate the situation.
“We strive to be one of the most welcoming establishments in Nashville and are horrified by these reports. Our leadership team is investigating this situation and will take action should we find that any of our employees or third-party security contractors violated our policies. We appreciate those who have brought this to our attention.”
It’s pretty damn disheartening to see this kind of thing happening here in 2019, blind hatred right to somebody’s face. Hopefully, Jason Aldean, the restaurant group and the 3rd party security company can come together to make sure this kind of blatant racism never happens again.