A Baltimore restaurant group has apologized after a video showed a Black woman and her son being denied service because the boy’s clothes didn’t fit the restaurant’s dress code, even though a White boy, dressed similarly, was seemingly allowed to dine there.
On Monday, Marcia Grant, the boy’s mother, posted videos to her social media channels of the Ouzo Bay restaurant denying her and her son service because he was wearing athletic shorts.
“So we want to eat and they’re telling me my son can’t eat here because there’s no athletic wear. He’s 9. And there’s kids out there with tennis shoes on,” Grant can be heard saying in the video, which shows her son wearing black tennis shoes, athletic shorts and a t-shirt.
“Unfortunately, we do have a dress code,” the restaurant employee says as he suggests that the boy possibly change into “nonathletic shorts.”
Grant then turns the camera to outside the restaurant where a White boy, who, according to Grant, “just ate here,” can be seen wearing tennis shoes and a t-shirt. The employee goes on to say that based on what his boss told them while tennis shoes are allowed, athletic shorts and shirts aren’t, and he claims that the White boy’s shirt isn’t what the restaurant would classify as an athletic shirt.
“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 than a white child!” Grant wrote in the caption of her video posted on Instagram. Grant did not return CNN’s request for comment.
Atlas Restaurant Group, which owns Ouzo Bay and a number of other restaurants in the area as well as in Houston, apologized on Monday evening, calling the incident “incredibly disturbing.”
“This should never have happened, the manager seen in the video has been placed on indefinite leave,” the restaurant group said in a statement posted to Twitter. “As a result, we immediately revised our dress code policy so that children 12 years old and younger, who are accompanied by an adult, will not be subject to a dress code at any Atlas property.”
Atlas has received backlash before for its dress codes.
According to the Baltimore Sun, The Choptank, another Atlas restaurant, received criticism last year for its dress code that banned what the paper described as “excessively baggy clothing, sunglasses after dark and bandannas” – a move critics said was discriminatory towards African Americans.
Choptank has since modified its dress code, the Sun reported. It also said it opposed discrimination and decried “false accusations” of racism, according to the Sun.