Former Atlanta Hawks NBA star Dominique Wilkins is calling out an Atlanta restaurant after he claims he was discriminated against.
On Saturday, May 22, he posted a photo of a French bistro called Le Bilboquet along with a statement detailing his recent experience with them. He said, “In my many years in the world, I’ve eaten at some of the greatest restaurants in the world, but never have I felt prejudice or been turned away because of the color of my skin, until today in #atlanta In @LeBilboquetAtl #turnedawaybecauseimblack.”
“Ugly Betty” actor Christopher Gorham offered his sympathy to Wilkins writing, “I’m so sorry, Dominique.” Giving more context to the situation, Wilkins replied, “Crazy man , they said there are no seats available when u can clearly see many available.”
Another Twitter user responded to Wilkins’s message with a link to a news article that came out three days ago detailing another young woman’s bad experience with the restaurant. The lady, whose name is Monica Johnson, says she was turned away from the restaurant when she arrived wearing a tracksuit, which according to the restaurant violates their dress code. She and her friends then decided to eat at a nearby restaurant but she says she later walked by the restaurant and saw a few of their guests wearing ripped jeans, sneakers, T-shirts, etc. which are all apparently against their dress policy as well.
In addition to the article link, the Twitter user said, “Based on their online reviews, this is not shocking. It seems that multiple people had a similar experience at this restaurant. They enforce the dress code inconsistently which some deem racist.”
According to their website, their policy states, “Collared shirts are suggested for gentlemen. Casualwear including baseball caps, flip-flops, slides, excessively revealing clothing, cut-offs, sweat pants and athletic attire are considered too informal for the dining experience we provide at Le Bilboquet.”
Wilkins responded to the Twitter user saying, “That’s exactly what happened. I would have been fine if they said just no tables. But they looked me up and down before that and then said that and to add insult, talked about how my clothes were not appropriate when I was wearing designer casual pants and a shirt.”
About four hours after Wilkins made his original tweet, Le Bilboquet made their own response in a now-deleted tweet, which reiterated their “business casual” dress code. They said that their policy “includes jeans & sneakers but prohibits athletic clothing including sweat pants & tops,” while also adding that “the definition of “casual” is ever evolving, we strive to maintain our policy requirements daily.”
The next day Le Bilboquet released another statement apologizing directly to Wilkins. It said, “We want to apologize to Mr. Wilkins for his experience at our restaurant and also for any confusion our dress code may have caused. We in no way intended for him to feel unwanted, and welcome an open dialogue with him. Our upscale dining experience and our brand’s culture is made up of multiple elements, which include our music, our food and our patrons’ attire. We continue to strive to manifest our dining experience in a way that is exciting and most importantly, inclusive.”
Despite the many complaints the restaurant in Atlanta’s tony Buckhead district has received in their reviews, which were not only about the inconsistency in their dress policy but also their actual service as well, they said, in their previous statement, “We do our best to accommodate all of our guests.”