A group of Baltimore restaurants apologized Monday after the video of a black woman and her 9-year-old son who was denied service due to the way the boy was dressed appeared, despite the fact that he apparently he served a white boy who was dressed similarly.
The mother, Marcia Grant, posted two videos and several still images of the incident on Facebook on Monday, saying that although she had faced racism, it was difficult to see her son, Dallas, endure it.
“I have faced racism over and over again, but it is difficult AF, when you have to see your son (9 years old) upset because he knows that he is being treated differently than a white boy,” Grant wrote.
The incident occurred at Ouzo Bay, a restaurant owned by the Atlas Restaurant Group.
In the videos, a white employee, an unidentified manager, tells Grant that she and her son cannot be served because of how Dallas dresses. The boy is wearing sports shorts, sneakers and an Air Jordan shirt.
“Unfortunately, we have a dress code,” says the manager, as he begins to suggest that the boy change to “non-sporty dress shorts” if possible.
Grant then turns his camera to a white boy, who is dressed in sportswear very similar to that of Dallas, who appears to be leaving the restaurant with his family after being treated. The manager later claims in the video that he couldn’t see the white boy well.
Atlas Restaurant Group released a statement calling the incident “disturbing”.
“This should never have happened, the manager seen in the video has been put on indefinite license,” the statement says in part. “We are sick from this incident. We sincerely apologize to Marcia Grant, her son, and everyone affected by this painful incident.”
The group said their dress codes are “the result of continuous customer input” and that “they are not intended in any way to be discriminatory.”
Atlas said it was immediately changing its policy so that children 12 and under are not subject to the dress code.
Grant did not immediately respond to a message seeking comment Tuesday morning.
However, this is not the first time that Atlas has been criticized for its dress code. In September, his restaurant The Choptank banned “baggy clothes, sunglasses after dark and scarves,” according to The Associated Press. The restaurant later modified the dress code, AP reported.