‘We couldn’t get in because of the colour of our skin’– Clubbers’ outrage after being turned away from Stevenage club Bar & Beyond
- Credit: Archant
Two clubbers who believe they were refused entry to a Stevenage nightclub on its opening night due to the colour of their skin have sparked a social media frenzy.
People took to Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to show their support for Anton Rice and Dejon Mullings – both who claimed they were turned away from Bar & Beyond on racial grounds.
Anton, who has lived in Letchworth since he was five and whose parents originate from Barbados, posted a picture of himself on Instagram on Friday night after he was refused entry to the club at Stevenage Leisure Park.
The image shows Anton dressed smartly next to a friend – who is white – who gained entry despite admitting himself he had dressed much more casually.
Anton posted: “If I had just put more thought into what I was wearing last night and dressed down a little bit more like the gentleman I’m standing next to then maybe, just maybe, I would’ve looked ‘smart enough’ to enter.”
Many other party goers have since posted saying they had also been denied entry despite having bought tickets in advance.
Anton, who is 24 and works as an actor at Madame Tussauds and a teacher at the Warriorz Performing Arts Academy in Stevenage, said: “If I’m honest I want it closed down.
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“I don’t want to get compensation from somewhere that doesn’t want me there.
“I just want it to go, it’s not welcome around here.”
Anton says he was wearing smart Ted Baker shoes, a long-sleeved burgundy shirt and skinny black jeans when he tried to get into the club with 13 friends – eight of whom were of mixed ethnic origin.
He said the group was told they were not smart enough by two bouncers before the manager was sent for.
“He came down and pointed at us one by one and said we weren’t smart enough,” said Anton.
“When I saw who was being let in and a friend of a friend had got in looking a lot less smart than me, I found it baffling. I’ve been clubbing quite a lot and I knew there was nothing we could do about not being let in, we just had to go somewhere else, but we took the picture anyway.
“It’s something more than the way I’m dressed. It’s more to do with the colour of my skin.
“I think they’re saying they don’t want black people in the club, because whatever stereotype they’ve got, they don’t want black people to ruin their opening night.”
Dejon Mullings was also turned away twice after going to the club on a work leaving do.
The 20-year-old, who works at Miss Selfridge in Stevenage and lives in Letchworth, said: “I feel hurt and disappointed that in 2016 I have been discriminated against because of the colour of my skin.
“Racism is a terrible thing and it’s easy to play the race card – something I have never done. But the fact is I was turned away for no other reason than because I have black skin.
“I was with around seven or eight friends who were female and we went bowling first before heading to Bar & Beyond.
“I was completely sober when I went to gain admittance. I was wearing a denim jacket, a white T-shirt from Zara, and black denim jeans from Zara. I also had white trainer shoes on.
“The person who I later found out was the general manager – who incidentally was wearing a pink shirt, a blazered jacket and jeans – told me I wasn’t smart enough and to ‘go to Tesco to buy another outfit’.
“I really wanted to get in as all my friends were inside by that stage so I actually drove home to my home in Wilbury Road, Letchworth, from Stevenage Leisure Park to change.
“For my second outfit I then put on a white collared shirt from Zara, and my £750 Christian Louboutin shoes and kept the jeans on.
“I couldn’t believe it when I got back and the same man told me I still wasn’t smart enough.
“I thought it was just me until I talked to a few other people of colour outside who had also been denied entry.
“My friends and I were appalled. I’d like to thank them for showing solidarity with me as they all left in disgust.”
A statement posted on Bar & Beyond’s Stevenage Facebook page on Saturday read: “We apologise for any confusion surrounding dress code at our opening last night.
“We operate a smart and stylish dress policy however we understand that there were some inconsistencies during the night which we are working hard on to resolve.
“We would like to reassure all our customers that a decision to refuse someone entry is never taken based on race - as long as you are dressed appropriately, haven’t had too much to drink and are behaving in the right way then you are more than welcome at Bar & Beyond.”
The club said people who were refused entry after booking tickets should contact email@example.com.
Bar & Beyond is owned by Deltic Group which also ran the Chicago’s night club on the same site before it shut down earlier this year for a major revamp and rebranding.