Watch CBS News

Restaurant fires two managers for barring black child over clothing

Racism's toll on mental health
The impact racism and coronavirus can have on mental health in the black community 05:38

A restaurant group has fired two managers and apologized for what the company calls "an incredibly disturbing incident" at one of its Baltimore eateries in which a black woman and her nine-year-old son were denied service due to the boy's clothing. 

In a video posted lated Monday on social media, Marcia Grant said she and her child, Dallas, were repeatedly told by a manager at Ouzo Bay in Baltimore's Harbor East neighborhood that they could not eat there because of its dress code prohibiting athletic wear. The video, which shows Grant's son wearing sneakers, gym shorts and an Air Jordan T-shirt, also recorded another child, who was white, in a similar outfit at the end of his meal at an outside table.

"It's hard" Grant said on Instagram of having to see her child "upset because he knows he's being treated differently than a white child." 

Two managers involved in the incident have been fired following an internal investigation, according to Atlas Restaurant Group, which operates Ouzo Bay as well as 19 other restaurants in Florida, Maryland, Texas and the District of Columbia. The Baltimore-based company had also tried to connect with Marcia Grant and her son, but had been unsuccessful, it added in an emailed statement to CBS MoneyWatch. 

"We are sickened by this incident and we sincerely apologize to Marcia Grant, her son and everyone impacted by this painful experience. They deserved better," the restaurant group said. 

 Atlas also said it would now exempt children under the age of 12 from its dress code. 

The incident is not the first time the restaurant company has faced backlash over its rules over what accessories and attire customers may wear. In September, the company's eatery, Choptank, faced an outcry for rules banning attire including excessively baggy clothing and sunglasses after dark, with the stipulation that "management may enforce these policies within its discretion." 

Atlas subsequently revised the policy following criticism it discriminated against black and Latino patrons.

Atlas is co-owned by brothers Alex and Eric Smith, whose father, Frederick Smith, is a vice president and director of the Sinclair Broadcasting Group, an operator of conservative-leaning television stations around the country.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.