An Irish bar in New York is being accused of racism with a dress code that critics say is fashioned specifically to keep black people out of the establishment.
Facebook user Herbert Smith sparked the controversy with a post to social media where he wondered at the very long list of clothing and accessories that Murphy’s Irish Bar in Rochester, New York, had prohibited from the bar.
“A friend of mine showed me this pic. I’m not sure what to think of this,” Smith said in his post.
But the long list of banned clothing caused some Facebook users to charge the bar with racism because the items seemed specifically aimed at banning black fashion.
“I post a lot of stuff on Facebook, so I thought a few of my friends would chime in,” Smith said. “But what happened next I was not expecting.”
As Yahoo Lifestyle reported:
Nearly 200 comments later, Smith now realizes he wasn’t alone in his feelings about the restrictions against items such as straight-brim caps, hoodies, bandanas, white tees, and Timberland work boots. Multiple commenters said the list was a clear example of “prejudice.”
“Code for no black people,” one person wrote. “Racist. Hands-down,” said another.
Some defended the dress code, saying its possible the bar just wanted patrons “to show up in more classy attire.”
“Not that hard can get a whole outfit that looks good at Macy’s for like $80,” one commenter wrote.
But even those who don’t think these restrictions stem directly from racism are quick to point out that there have been issues with how the pub’s rules are enforced.
“My problem isn’t the dress code. It’s the fact that Murphy’s Law only enforces the dress code for people of color,” someone pointed out. “I tried to go there a few years back and they denied me entrance because of my outfit but there was a group of white people that had on similar outfits like the one I had on.”
Smith says the response to his post is a clear indication that further action needs to take place.
“A picture is worth a thousand words,” he says. “The comments streamed in. People were very passionate about it on either side of the spectrum. To me, the act of posting that dress code, without any prompting, and seeing the response which ensued, warrants a change.”
The bar eventually responded to the growing accusations saying that the dress code has been around for almost a decade.
Our dress code policy was put into place 9 years ago. The dress code was adopted after reviewing what many other successful bars, clubs & restaurants from around the area and country had already put in place. We have been a big part of the East End and Rochester community for over 9 years and are looking forward to many more. Murphy’s Law and our employees welcome all patrons local and out of town through our doors
Does that satisfy as an answer? Whether it does or not, it appears that the bar is standing its ground.
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston.