“We sincerely apologize to Dominique Wilkins for the events that occurred on May 22. No patron of our restaurants should be made to feel unwelcome or less than, and for that we are deeply sorry. It was never our intention to make Mr. Wilkins – or anyone else for that matter – feel that way at our restaurant.
“As an upscale, white table cloth, fine dining restaurant, we have a dress code in place to provide an experience that meets both our brand standards and our clientele’s expectations. While we will continue to have a dress code, we realize our current policy is subject to interpretation and can be unintentionally demeaning and divisive.
“Accordingly, we are immediately making changes.
“First, we will provide diversity, equity and inclusion training to all current employees and require it as part of our employee onboarding process moving forward.
“Second, we are reevaluating our dress code and eliminating any ambiguities that may lead to misunderstandings.
“Third, we are establishing more rigid protocols to ensure all policies, including our dress code, are consistently and equitably enforced by staff. This will include providing staff with communication training to make certain all messages to guests are clearly conveyed and appropriately delivered.
“We will not tolerate implicit or explicit bias. We have done and will continue do the work to ensure our restaurant is a place where all feel welcome.
“Again, we apologize to Mr. Wilkins and hope these changes will be met with an eye toward progress.”
Hear it straight from the Human Highlight Reel’s mouth.
Listen, there is not a single human being walking this earth that is better than any other human being. That said, the truth about working in the hospitality business is knowing who you’re being hospitable to. When it comes to clubs, restaurants, and certain entertainment businesses, all guests are not treated the same way and most of us accept that that’s just how it goes. When a celebrity or public figure wants to patronize a business, owners and managers will frequently circumvent whatever arbitrary “policies” they have to accommodate said person. ESPECIALLY if that person is one of the biggest and most influential figures in that particular city. Atlanta Hawks legend and NBA Hall of Famer Dominique Wilkins is without question one of those people.
This past weekend Wilkins set fire to social media when he posted an Instagram photo of Le Bilboquet in the bougie Buckhead area of Atlanta. In the caption, he wrote the following:
In all my years, I’ve eaten at many of the great #restaurants in the world but never have I ever been turned away because of the color of my skin until today. @lebilboquetatlanta did that today. #turnedawaybecauseimblack Racism exists. We need to do better.
People from all over the city were outraged that any restaurant would turn away one of the city’s greatest ambassadors for any reason whatsoever much less over the color of his skin. Let the folks at Le Bilboquet tell it, Wilkins’ attire did not meet their “dress code.” This isn’t the first time we’ve seen these uppity restaurants in Atlanta act a damn fool over what someone is wearing but damn, Dominique muthaf***in WILKINS can’t get a table “because of his clothes”?? After several days, #21 spoke to WSB-TV about his upsetting experience:
“Discrimination has many different disguises, you know. In this case, it’s disguised through a dress code,” Wilkins said. “I’m just hoping that they learn from this and that they could get some diversity equality and this type of training to guard against this.”
Subsequently, Le Bilboquet has issued the following public apology to Wilkins: