There shouldn’t be a place in all of Georgia that would deny the NBA high-flying, slam-dunk champion, and first ballot Hall of Famer known as Dominique Wilkins, but sadly that was untrue.
According to a tweet shared by Wilkins, a restaurant known as Le Bibloquet in Buckhead, Atlanta discriminated against him, allegedly, due to his dress code.
“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 @LeBibloquetATL.”
Wilkins ended the tweet with the hashtag #turnedawaybecauseimblack.
In a stunning turn of events, Le Bilboquet has now apologized to him for the incident, which they have claimed to be a simple case of misunderstanding. A spokesperson from the restaurant released a statement which focused on the enforced dress code policy over the refusal of Wilkins as a patron.
“We want to apologize to Mr. Wilkins for his experience at our restaurant and also for any confusion our dress code may have caused,” the Sunday, May 23 released statement read. “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 patron’s attire. We continue to strive to manifest our dining experience in a way that is exciting and most importantly, inclusive.”
The former Atlanta Hawk and man best known as “The Human Highlight Film” responded to feedback to his initial tweet, noting, “... [Le Bilboquet] looked me up and down ... and to add insult, talked about how my clothes were not appropriate when I was wearing designer casual pants and a shirt.”
Dress codes at Atlanta-based restaurants, as well as other parts of the U.S., have been highlighted due to arbitrarily enforcing rules that have been lax for white patrons and leaving Black patrons to be treated differently. Last October, Umi Sushi, also in Buckhead, Atlanta, had a boycott called upon them after denying service to Kaylan Colbert and her husband, William Johnson, over wearing Nike Air Force 1 sneakers.
Similar stories have also involved a Baltimore restaurant that denied entry to a young Black child because of dress code, while letting a white child, who was dressed the same, sit and dine. A Detroit sports bar dictated a guideline that called for patrons to not wear any “ghetto gear,” and pushed the notion that places such as these frequently target Black customers, while whites are allowed to dress however they may choose.
Wilkins, who played for the Hawks from 1982 to 1994, had his uniform number retired in 2001 and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2006. He is now vice president and special adviser to the CEO, while serving as a color commentator for Bally Sports Southeast.