The owner of a private outdoor recreation center in Wendell, N.C. is facing criticism for his “racist” rules that ban dreadlocks, weaves, hair extensions and baggy pants for customers using the pool.
However, John Freeman, who co-owns the business with his wife Teresa, is insisting that the rules are not racist and is now thinking about taking legal action against the critics who have been using the dreaded “r” word against him and his wife, according to ABC11.
In the same breath, however, the Outdoor Recreation Center of Wendell has deleted the pool rules from its Facebook page and has claimed that some of the language used is merely a mistake.
The rule in question states: “No baggy pants, no dread-locks/weaves/extensions or revealing clothes will be permitted or you will be asked to leave.”
When Diana Powell, the Executive Director of Justice Served NC went directly to Freeman to ask about it, she was told that it was all a misunderstanding
“He told me that his wife is–they’re not racist,” Powell told the news station. “His wife just actually just made a mistake.”
Freeman said that he did not want people walking around the children at the pool “with their britches down” and doesn’t want hair getting stuck in the pump, which he claimed will shutdown the pool for three days maintenance.
Freeman insisted that he tries to “accommodate any and everybody” using his facilities.
Still there were other posts – which were also deleted, where the Freeman’s apologized being ignorant of the meaning of “dreadlocks,” saying that the rules should have read “no artificial hair.”
In another post, the facility explained that the artificial hair policy was due to a Certified Pool Owners class which told businesses to not permit hair extensions because it could get into pool strainers and into the pump, prompting an automatic shutdown.
However, a Certified Pool Owners instructor told ABC11 that that would not be a cause for concern.
“In 50+ years operating commercial swimming clubs (owned/operated a large community pool management company in Northern Virginia) never have I heard of or experienced a pump or filter system damaged by hair,” the CPO instructor said.
“Strainers are installed to prevent hair and other material from getting into the pump, that is their purpose. There was a time (many decades ago), when swimmers with long hair were required to wear bathing caps because of the argument that hair lost in the pool would block up the filter system, so perhaps this thinking is still lingering. Experience proved it was not a concern,” the instructor added.
Despite some of the math not adding up, Freeman and his wife say that they plan to speak with their lawyer about what action can be taken against the people who have publicly called them racist (because who can imagine anything worse!?).
“If they call me racist, they can put it in writing and we will deal with it at the courthouse,”Freeman said.
Meanwhile, Powell just hopes that the couple will change the ruling so that it doesn’t appear to target a specific culture or race.
“Maybe we can sit down and come to the table and kind of reason together,” Powell said.