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‘Knock It Off!’: Black Woman Sues Portland Restaurant for Kicking Her Party Out After Allegedly Making White Customers Feel ‘Uncomfortable’

An African-American woman is taking a Portland restaurant to court after she says she and her family were treated poorly compared to the eatery’s other customers — all of whom were white.

Krystal Menefee said she was left feeling “shocked, embarrassed and racially profiled” after the alleged discrimination she faced at Thatcher’s Restaurant and Lounge last week. In a complaint filed Sept. 24, Menefee alleges their mistreatment was rooted in racial animus.

Went to Thatcher's Restaurant & Lounge with several of my family members last night to celebrate the life of our uncle…

Posted by Krystal Menefee on Saturday, August 24, 2019

“I feel like people are very comfortable with treating black people like this,” she told The Oregonian in a recent interview. “I want them to know it’s not OK — we’re here, we’re visible. Don’t negate us.”

Menefee and her relatives were coming from a celebration of life service for her uncle on August 23 when they stopped by Thatcher’s for a bite to eat, according to the lawsuit. She said her family had just paid for a few songs on the jukebox and were enjoying their drinks when a bartender suddenly shut off the music and yelled for someone to “knock it off!”

The plaintiff said they soon realized that the reprimand was directed at them and asked the bartender to turn their tunes back on. The employee refused, however, arguing that Menefee and her family were making the other guests “uncomfortable.”

“We asked this couple nearby if we were bothering them, and they said no,” Menefee recalled.

She said the bartender eventually agreed to turn the music back on, only to turn it off again a few moments later. This time, she ordered Menefee and her relatives to get out.

“She says, ‘You’re not welcome here. You need to leave,’” Menefee told The Oregonian.

The Portland woman, who said she’s visited the restaurant on countless occasions with white friends and never had any issues, was forced to leave the bar as the restaurant’s all-white clientele looked on.

“We drink, laugh, joke, we’re being loud,” she continued. “We’ve been there dancing on tables, had impromptu karaoke sessions — nothing. Then I’m in there with my black family and it’s ‘Get out.’”

Menefee’s suit doesn’t seek compensation, but is instead requesting a jury trial to determine whether Thatcher’s did indeed discriminate against her and her family.

She isn’t the only one who claim’s they’ve witnessed instances of profiling and discrimination at the pub, however. The business’ Facebook page also has a handful of reviews from customers who’ve had similar experiences.

“Horrible racist customer service the 3 times I’ve been there did not get service for over 25 mins and then it was rude and we were disrespected,” one woman wrote in a commented dated Aug. 25. “Some family were in there last night and was treated the exact way. Smh you’ve got to do better. HORRIBLE STAFF ONLY REALLY SERVICED HER WHITE CUSTOMERS AND FRIENDS!!!!!”

“Racist staff! Worst experience in Portland ever!” another chimed in, adding, “Do not go here!”

One woman said rumblings that customers have been treated poorly “is enough for me to never consider referring anyone, especially of color to come here to eat. I wouldn’t wish this type of emotional trauma on anyone!”

By filing a complaint, Menefee said she hopes to bring awareness to the discrimination often faced by African-Americans. For now, she said she’s unsure if she’ll ever return to the eatery where she was once a regular.

Thatcher’s didn’t return Atlanta Black Star’s request for comment.

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