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Dining while Black: NBA legend Dominique Wilkins refused service at restaurant

Dining while Black: NBA legend Dominique Wilkins refused service at restaurant
Dominique Wilkins (Photo credit: / Jamie Lamor Thompson)

NBA Hall of Famer Dominique Wilkins’ lunch plans on Saturday, May 22, 2021, didn’t go quite well. The retired Atlanta Hawks legend claimed he was racially profiled and denied service because he is Black, and he put Atlanta restaurant Le Bilboquet on blast as he discussed the incident on Twitter.

“In my many years in the world, I’ve eaten at some of the greatest restaurants in the world, but never have I felt prejudice or been turned away because of the color of my skin, until today in #atlanta In @LeBilboquetAtl,” he tweeted, ending with the hashtag #turnedawaybecauseimblack.

Killer Mike responded to one of his childhood idol’s tweets and demanded that the establishment correct the situation.

“@lebilboquetatlanta ya’ll better make this lame s— right. How ya’ll mistreat “NIQUE” @dominiquewilkins21! Ya’ll lame AF for that shawty! #ThatAintAtlantaALL #RacismIsLame #SuperWeak #ShutemDown,” he wrote.

The restaurant initially responded stating the Wilkins, nicknamed the “Human Highlight Film,” was denied entry because of what he was wearing.

“We, at Le Bilboquet, do our best to accommodate all of our guests. However, we have received consistent complaints from our patrons regarding other guest’s (sic) wardrobe choices. As a result, to protect our restaurant’s culture, we installed a minimum standard in our ‘business casual’ attire dress code which includes jeans and sneakers but prohibits baseball caps and athletic clothing including sweat pants and tops. Though the definition of ‘casual’ is ever evolving, we strive to maintain our policy requirements daily but it isn’t a perfect system,” the statement read.

Whether the restaurant had a change of heart or the negative social media comments were affecting its business hasn’t been determined, but Le Bilboquet issued a formal apology on Sunday, May 23.

“We want to apologize to Mr. Wilkins for his experience at our restaurant and also for any confusion our dress code may have caused,” the apology read. “We in no way intended for him to feel unwanted, and welcome an open dialogue with him. Our upscale dining experience and our brand’s culture is made up of multiple elements, which include our music, our food and our patrons’ attire. We continue to strive to manifest our dining experience in a way that is exciting and most importantly, inclusive.”

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