World

US restaurant Ouzo Bay, Baltimore refuses to serve black boy because he's wearing shorts

US restaurant Ouzo Bay, Baltimore refuses to serve black boy because he's wearing shorts

An American restaurant has apologised after “disturbing” footage showed its staff refusing to serve a black child because of the shorts he was wearing, while a white child dined wearing a similar outfit.

Footage of the incident at Baltimore restaurant Ouzo Bay surfaced on Facebook after the boy’s furious mother Marcia Grant shared the exchange.

In the footage, a waiter wearing a face mask approaches Ms Grant and her nine-year-old boy Dallas, who is dressed in trainers, an Air Jordan T-shirt and sports shorts.

“Unfortunately we do have a dress code, if you have some non-athletic shorts...,” the staff member tells the woman.

“We allow tennis shoes but not athletic shorts...I’d love for you to be able to come back and eat here.”

Ms Grant, who filmed the incident on her mobile phone, pointed to a young white boy at the restaurant who was wearing a similar outfit without issue.

“It’s not that I’m upset, the little boy out there has athletic tennis shoes and an athletic shirt so why does get to wear athletic wear and my son can’t?” she said.

“I don’t want you to sympathise with me, I just want you to tell me why he’s different from my son.”

The waiter admitted he didn’t get a “good look” at the Caucasian boy but tried to encourage Ms Grant to take her son home to change.

She instead left the restaurant and shared the footage the Facebook, where it has since been shared thousands of times.

“I have faced racism time and time again, but it’s hard AF, when you have to see your child (9yo) upset because he knows he’s being treated different that a white child!!!” she wrote.

The restaurant’s parent company Atlas Restaurant Group issued a statement saying it had stood down two of the venue’s managers and scrapped its dress code for children under 12.

Atlas says it has also tried to contact Ms Grant without success and offered her a “heartfelt apology”.

“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 company said.

“We don’t want anyone to go through this type of embarrassing and hurtful experience.

“What took place was not only disturbing, it was also eye-opening and we are committed to learning from it and implementing real change as a result.”