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Restaurant forced to apologise after refusing entry to drag queen and pegging her as a security threat

Patrick Kelleher November 21, 2019
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Drag queen Erika Klash was turned away from Whataburger

Whataburger (Epics/Getty) and drag queen Erika Klash (Facebook)

A United States restaurant chain has been forced to apologise after a drag queen was turned away from an outlet in Austin, Texas.

Erika Klash said she was turned away from Whataburger because she was “in drag.”

“Manager didn’t want me to enter and security blocked me from entering without citing any company policy. I am a professional artist, NOT a security threat,” she wrote on Twitter.

The chain responded to Klash’s tweet – which was liked more than 2,000 times – and wrote: “We apologise you had a bad experience at Whataburger.

“We love all of our customers & we are investigating the circumstances surrounding this unfortunate incident.”

Whataburger has apologised to drag queen Erika Klash and is investigating the incident.

Klash – who appeared on the second season of The Boulet Brothers’ Dragula – was denied entry to the restaurant at 11pm last Saturday (November 16).

She was in Austin, Texas as she was performing at the 2019 Austin International Drag Festival.

Writing on Facebook on November 19, Klash said that she subsequently went to another Whataburger outlet and used the drive-thru.

She also said she had spoken to a representative about the incident.

As a queer person, It’s also hard to feel safe in those moments.

“They apologized, recorded my statement on the incident, and are currently investigating. I am told the investigation will be completed this week.

“I REALLY want to believe that this was all a misunderstanding, but at this moment I cannot be certain,” she continued.

“When one is in full drag, and there are strangers staring at you while you’re being physically blocked from entering an establishment, AND the person blocking your entry does not give a clear reason for doing so, its [sic] hard for one not to wonder WHY all of that is happening. As a queer person, It’s also hard to feel safe in those moments.”

Klash urged LGBT+ people to blow the whistle when they experience discrimination.

Klash continued: “In short, I could not make any clear determination on the motivation behind them denying me entry. This also means that I could not rule out discrimination as a potential motivation.

Speaking to the Daily Mail, Klash said the company told her in a phone call that there was no real evidence of “discriminatory intent.”

“They did concede that the issue was mishandled by staff,” she said.

She also suggested that she may have been turned away due to a policy banning masks in the Whataburger branch – however, she was not wearing a mask. She was wearing make-up as a part of her drag persona.

Klash has also urged other LGBT+ people to “blow the whistle” if they think they have been discriminated against.

Related topics: drag

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