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Gay bar issues grovelling apology after bartender wears Blackface coronavirus mask to work

Lily Wakefield July 17, 2020
gay bar blackface mask

The gay bar issued an apology after a picture of the bartender wearing a Blackface mask circulated on social media. (Cameron Burrell/ Facebook)

A gay bar in Washington, DC, has come under fire after a bartender wore a Blackface coronavirus mask to work, and has been forced to issue a grovelling apology.

Number Nine in Logan Circle is a popular DC gay bar, but on Friday, July 10, a picture was posted on Facebook of one of its bartenders wearing a Blackface coronavirus face mask.

Cameron Burrell, who posted the photo, wrote: “DC PEEPS …THIS IS A BARTENDER AT *Number Nine* RIGHT NOW …LIKE, LIVE AND IN PERSON …SERVING UP!!! …This is a blackface mask! Racist cartoon!”

🗣DC PEEPS …THIS IS A BARTENDER AT *Number Nine* RIGHT NOW …LIKE, LIVE AND IN PERSON …SERVING UP!!! …This is a blackface mask! Racist cartoon! GOOGLE ***SAMBO***

Posted by Cameron Burrell on Friday, July 10, 2020

As the post began to circulate on social media, Number Nine was forced to issue an apology.

The gay bar insisted the bartender had “no idea” the mask was racist Blackface caricature, and said that “he was horrified and removed it” when he found out.

It added: “We are sorry that this happened and we want to thank those that brought this to our attention and we appreciate being held accountable… As a society, we are currently in a position to effect real change, tear down old systems, and build new ones.

“Part of that process is for everyone to be better. Better by participating. Better by learning about the issues that face our fellow citizens. Better by listening.

“Neither the employee nor his coworkers identified the mask as an issue and that is part of the problem. Now, we have heard the voices of many people and we are listening and learning.”

However, after the bar issued the apology, Yelp reviews began to resurface showing that the bar had been accused of racism by customers in the past.

One review from 2016 read: “The bar staff are very racist as well. The overall vibes are cold and unfriendly toward non-white patrons.”

Another, from February this year, said: “If you’re a queer/non-queer woman of color, or a queer man of color…come with backup.”

Number Nine then updated its Facebook post: “After having had a chance to follow this conversation today both on line and personally with many of you, we have heard some straight forward concerns.

“We honestly look forward to addressing those concerns as fully as possible.

“We have decided to take some concrete steps. We will be more full throated about our policies that racism, racist comments, and racist symbols or clothing will not ever be tolerated in the workplace.

“We have initiated a plan to provide diversity based training sessions for the entire staff.”

Number Nine has been approached for comment.

More: bartender, blackface, Coronavirus, face mask, number nine, racism, Washington DC

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