Atlas Restaurant Group issued a statement following a video of a Black family being denied service at one of their restaurants in Baltimore, Maryland. In the video, Marcia Grant and her family are told they cannot dine at the restaurant since her son is not following the dress code.
Grant recently tried to get a table at Ouzo Bay restaurant but was told that her nine-year-old son's clothing did not follow the dress code since it was "athletic wear." Her son was wearing athletic shorts, a T-shirt, and sneakers in the video posted to Grant's Instagram page. After a staff member reiterated that the family would not be seated, the video pans to a white child around the same age wearing a similar outfit who was just getting up from dining inside.
*Full video @supermoms_and_co (TV)* ♦️Ouzo Bay would not let @I_Am_Dallas_Greene eat at there restaurant sighting that athletic wear was not allowed! I pointed out to them that there was a white child that also had on athletic wear just getting up from dinning there, they still would not let my son eat there! I have faced racism time and time again, but it’s hard AF, when you have to see your child (9yo) upset because he knows he’s being treated different that a white child!!! Racism abounds!! #Share #Baltimore #son #Love #BLM 🤬💔
A post shared by Marcia Grant (@marcia_grant_____the_realtor) on Jun 22, 2020 at 3:44pm PDT
"I pointed out to them that there was a white child that also had on athletic wear just getting up from dining there, they still would not let my son eat there!" Grant wrote in the caption: "I have faced racism time and time again, but it’s hard AF, when you have to see your child (9yo) upset because he knows he’s being treated different."
The video has been viewed over 48,000 times on Instagram and has since made it to other social media platforms. In response to the incident, Atlas Restaurant Group, which owns Ouzo Bay, released a statement on their Facebook page saying the staff involved with this decision have been placed on indefinite leave.
"This difficult situation does not represent who or what Atlas Restaurant Group stands for. While dress codes across Atlas properties are the result of ongoing input from customers, in no way are they intended to be discriminatory," it stated. "That said, this past weekend’s incident at Ouzo Bay clearly serves as a moment we will learn from and create change."
In response, the company has gotten rid of dress codes for those under 12 years old who are accompanied by an adult. The restaurant group also confirmed they will continue offering diversity and inclusion training for their staff.
"We know we failed in this instance and sincerely hope to be afforded the opportunity to meet with the Marcia Grant and her son, who both deserved better," they said.
Per USA Today, this isn't the first time one of Atlas's properties has been accused of racist behavior. Last year, their restaurant Choptank "faced scrutiny for creating dress code requirements perceived to discriminate against Black and Latino customers."
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