A Black man is accusing a Portland, Oregon establishment of racism after he was denied entry because, as he was told, he was wearing “too many” chain necklaces.
According to the Oregonian, Ray Lamont Peterson, 34, went to Splash Bar to celebrate a friend’s birthday party when he was told by security staff that his four thick necklaces were violating the dress code.
A $500,000 lawsuit that Peterson filed against one of the owners of the establishment claimed that staff refused to show him the supposed dress code when he asked to see it.
“[Peterson] then asked to talk to a manager who told [Peterson] they did not want ‘that kind’ of ‘riff raff’ in the club,” the lawsuit claimed. “[Peterson] asked what that was supposed to mean and protested that others wearing necklaces had been allowed entry that night. The manager responded that he could come into the club if he took one or two of his chains off.”
Peterson has named one of the owners, Chris Lenahan, as well as the security company, Top Flyte Entertainment and Security as defendants in the case.
Peterson’s lawsuit claims that Lenahan would radio security to start “arbitrarily enforcing a dress code against African Americans” when he believed that the ratio of the customers at the establishment was starting to get “too dark.”
The lawsuit also accused Lenahan of referring to Black customers using racist language.
Lenahan called the allegations in the lawsuit “ridiculous,” insisting he never used any racist language and that he and his partners operate “the most diverse clubs” with “the most diverse clientele,” according to the Oregonian.
It is not the first time that Lenahan has been accused of turning away Black customers.
Two months prior, Lenahan and his company, Vegasstars reached an undisclosed settlement with Sam Thompson. Thompson claimed that was denied entry to another bar that Lenahan is part owner of in May 2017, again due to dress code.
Thompson claimed that he was turned away from the Dirty Nightlife because he was wearing a red shirt and red shoes, which apparently violated a code prohibiting excessively matching gang colors. Thompson claimed that a white customer wearing almost the same outfit was allowed entry.