Jersey City restaurant accused of racial double standard with dress code

JERSEY CITY, New Jersey (WABC) -- A restaurant in Jersey City is accused of a setting a racial double standard after a video from the weekend went viral.

Two friends who are Black say The Ashford restaurant refused to seat them inside because their clothing didn't fit the dress code, but the employees later allowed white customers in similar clothing to dine.

After spending Saturday painting and getting his new photography studio in Jersey City ready, CJ Pace headed to the Ashford for a meal with Andrece Brady and another friend.

"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 said. "But I see there's outdoor dining and other people sitting outside, so I'm like cool, this shouldn't be a problem."

They were just about finished with their meal when they saw another group being allowed in. Pace decided to start recording because he said something inside him knew the group would be let in.



"We see a group of Caucasian people, they have on sweatpants, hoodies, hats to the back," Pace said.

The friends sensed they were being discriminated against, so they flagged down a security guard who they say was very rude and nasty.

And they say the manager wasn't any better.

"He thought that offering us free drinks would suffice, and we were basically like no, it's not about the free drinks, it was about the principle," Brady said.

The incident troubled them so Pace posted the video to social media. It has been viewed nearly 700,000 times and caught the attention of local officials, like Councilman James Solomon.

"They need to take immediate action to both correct this wrong and make sure that they never do this again," Solomon said.

Two years ago, The Ashford was called out for its strict dress code that seemed to be targeting Black customers. Saturday's incident was all too similar.

On Tuesday, the Ashford posted a statement to social media, saying in part "We are anti-racist. We will take action internally to ensure every team member meets this standard everyday."

"Jersey City is supposed to be one of the most diverse cities, which is why I decided to open up my own studio here, because I love the demographic here, so to have that happen to me here as I just came into town leaves a really bad taste," Pace said.

It was all so unsettling that they tipped the waitress but skipped out on the bill.

The friends hope they will get a personal apology and in the meantime they hope customers will boycott the restaurant to send a message.

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