Two black men accused a New Jersey restaurant of denying them entrance because they were wearing sweatpants – yet they say the establishment allowed similarly dressed white people inside.
CJ Pace, one of the men, posted a video to Twitter of the experience and it quickly went viral, racking up nearly 700,000 views.
Pace, 25, said he and his friend wanted to grab something to eat after a day of painting, so they stopped by The Ashford in downtown Jersey City wearing their work clothes, not expecting a problem.
‘I’m not dressed up because I was just painting. When we were walking up the guy yells, ‘Hey you can’t come inside because you have on sweatpants,” Pace told ABC 7. ‘But I see there’s outdoor dining and other people sitting outside, so I’m like cool, this shouldn’t be a problem.’
It became a problem for Pace, who noticed similarly dressed white men get into the restaurant. That’s when he started recording. He posted the video to Twitter on April 10.
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CJ Pace, who was denied entrance into the The Ashford in Jersey City, New Jersey for wearing sweatpants, Tweeted a video of white men wearing similar clothing being allowed in.
Pace posted this tweet after not being let in the restaurant, saying the establishment was racist
In the same Tweet he said, ‘being black in america is being told you can’t come inside of an establishment because you have on sweatpants but you can sit outside, and as you sit outside you watch white people walk smoothly inside with sweatpants and hats to the back’
The video quickly went viral. In a week, the video was retweeted 11,600 times and ‘liked’ 27,600 times.
‘I felt humiliated, embarrassed and frustrated,’ Pace told Atlantic Daily Voice. ‘I agreed to their dress code and to sit outside.
Pace said he called over a restaurant security guard and asked why he hadn’t been let inside. A manager then came outside and offered a free round of drinks. according to Daily Voice.
‘He wasn’t apologetic,’ Pace said. ‘He was going to give us a free round and then keep it moving. ‘Can you just imagine how I felt?’ It was a slap in the face to me.’
Pace said they were so upset, they tipped the waitress, but didn’t pay the restaurant bill.
A local city councilman, James Solomon, has kept tabs on the situation.
‘They need to take immediate action to both correct this wrong and make sure that they never do this again,’ Solomon told ABC7.
DailyMail.com tried contacting the owners of The Ashford multiple times, but no one picked up the phone at the establishment.
The Ashford did issue a statement on its Instagram earlier this week:
‘The Ashford and Six26 has a multi-racial ownership group, employs a multi-racial team, and serves a multi-racial community,’ the statement said. ‘We are ANTI-RACIST. We will take action internally to ensure every team member meets this standard everyday.’
The Ashford issued a public statement about CJ Pace’s video on its Instagram page, which didn’t include an apology.
Yelp was overloaded with reviews about The Ashford that it shut down the review option and posted this message.
Yelp was overloaded with so many reviews in the aftermath of Pace’s video that it disabled comments and issued the following statement:
‘This business recently received increased public attention resulting in an influx of people posting their views to this page, so we have temporarily disabled the ability to post here as we work to investigate the content,’ Yelp said.
‘While racism has no place on Yelp and we unequivocally reject racism in any form, all reviews on Yelp must reflect an actual first-hand consumer experience (even if that means disabling the ability for users to express points of view we might agree with).’
The Ashford came under fire in 2019 when it posted this specific dress code. Critics called it racist, according to NJ.com. It was since replaced with a dress code of ‘dressed to impress.’
DailyMail.com spoke to several former employees of The Ashford and its sister LGBTQ club Six26, which are owned by the same people.
The former employees said this incident was just the latest and most public display of bias since 2019, when the club opened with a specific dress code that was criticized as being racist.
The dress code banned oversized jeans and shirts, head gear, ball caps, work boots, gym sneakers, shorts or athletic apparel, sweatpants or joggers, cargo pants, oversized jewelry and chains, sunglasses, camouflage, low or baggy pants, headphones and required belts to be worn with pants, according to NJ.com.
It was since replaced with a dress code of ‘dressed to impress.’
Owner Kenny Caulfield told NJ.com in 2019 that the dress code was a ‘mistake.’
‘It was put out and it was rectified straightaway,’ Caulfield said. ‘It was an oversight, you’re busy, you’re not paying attention to every detail. You’re going 100 miles an hour. …The sign was made up, and it wasn’t reviewed properly.’
People at the time had called out the restaurant on Yelp, saying the dress code was racist, according to NJ.com
Meanwhile, a former employee told DailyMail.com that he’s told his friends not to eat at the restaurant because he thinks its policies support racial bias.
‘They think owning a gay bar gives them carte blanche to enforce policies like this dress code. It’s like saying something racist or homophobic and then following up with ‘I have a gay/black friend,’ the employee said.