Westport, Connecticut customers slammed a local restaurant after listing a “Tuskegee Experiment” on their drink menu.
A patron by the name of Eric Armour took a screen shot of “323 Restaurant and Bar”‘s specialty cocktails and posted the image to his Facebook page on August 15. He tagged the restaurant in his post and wrote, “Umm. This is ridiculously horrible.” The “Tuskegee Experiment” included the ingredients dark rum, Malibu pineapple juice, fresh lime, pineapple, jalapeno mash and a dash of Tabasco.
The restaurant’s beverage was named after a research experiment titled the “Tuskegee Study of Untreated Syphilis in the Negro Male” that left several Black men with syphilis untreated. Around the 1930’s the U.S. government began studying the disease in collaboration with Tuskegee University. However, the U.S. Health Service would not allow the Black participants to be treated and left 128 men dead, wives affected and their new born children.
New York resident Leah Bornstein told Westport News, “I was appalled when I saw (the drink name).”
Bornstein reported the “Tuskegee Experiment” to restaurant staff and contacted the restaurant owner to have the name of the drink banished on Aug 11. “323” discontinued the cocktail on their menu by August 17th.
The restaurant released a statement and apologized for their “insensitivity and the lack of forethought.”
“The name of the drink was clearly inappropriate, and we will seriously be considering the history and impact behind the names on future menus,” Westport bar officials wrote on their Facebook page.
President Brenda Penn-Williams of the Norwalk Naacp told the news outlet, “To conduct such an experiment on rural, uneducated African-American men which was the leading cause of death is a travesty of injustice and a lack of human regard. … It is a shame that 323 Main Restaurant continued with the same racist mind set in these times.”
The restaurant’s bar manager Emily Clayton said she never knew the cocktail existed and noted, “It looks like it’s being updated.”