ATLANTA — For the first time, Atlanta Hawks vice president and NBA hall of famer Dominique Wilkins is speaking publicly about what happened to him at a Buckhead restaurant.
He said staff at Le Bilboquet told him his designer casual clothing did not fit with their dress code.
“Discrimination has many different disguises, you know. In this case, it’s disguised through a dress code,” Wilkins said. “I’m just hoping that they learn from this and that they could get some diversity equality and this type of training to guard against this.”
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The restaurant apologized to Wilkins.
“We sincerely apologize to Dominique Wilkins for the events that occurred on May 22. No patron of our restaurants should be made to feel unwelcome or less than, and for that we are deeply sorry. It was never our intention to make Mr. Wilkins – or anyone else for that matter – feel that way at our restaurant.”
It also says it will re-train staff and make changes to its dress code to make it less open to interpretation.
Here is the restaurant’s full statement it issued:
“We sincerely apologize to Dominique Wilkins for the events that occurred on May 22. No patron of our restaurants should be made to feel unwelcome or less than, and for that we are deeply sorry. It was never our intention to make Mr. Wilkins – or anyone else for that matter – feel that way at our restaurant.
“As an upscale, white table cloth, fine dining restaurant, we have a dress code in place to provide an experience that meets both our brand standards and our clientele’s expectations. While we will continue to have a dress code, we realize our current policy is subject to interpretation and can be unintentionally demeaning and divisive.
“Accordingly, we are immediately making changes.
“First, we will provide diversity, equity and inclusion training to all current employees and require it as part of our employee onboarding process moving forward.
“Second, we are reevaluating our dress code and eliminating any ambiguities that may lead to misunderstandings.
“Third, we are establishing more rigid protocols to ensure all policies, including our dress code, are consistently and equitably enforced by staff. This will include providing staff with communication training to make certain all messages to guests are clearly conveyed and appropriately delivered.
“We will not tolerate implicit or explicit bias. We have done and will continue do the work to ensure our restaurant is a place where all feel welcome.
“Again, we apologize to Mr. Wilkins and hope these changes will be met with an eye toward progress.”
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