Apr 19, 2017

ReBar NYC Responds to Racist Allegations. Huffington Post further Dismisses QPOC Experiences.

In a follow up to an updated post on this blog, we wanted to provide some context for the writing of the original post as well as offer thoughts and a response specifically to The Huffington Post's Michael Cook and his opening paragraph.
Like Barracuda and GYM before it, REBAR is poised to become the newest hotspot in New York’s Chelsea neighborhood. Occupying the spot formally occupied by G, the owners at REBAR have created a spot that completely turns this space on it’s head, with a diverse crowd, great nightlife DJ’s, and of course, amazing cocktails all helping to make a truly unique nightlife experience. I spoke with co-owner Frank DiLuzio to talk about what REBAR is bringing to a crowded New York City nightlife landscape and what they have planned for New York City’s much anticipated Pride week. We did speak at length about the recent (and unfounded) controversy surrounding their opening weekend, which has now been formally addressed. REBAR has, and will continue to focus on making the best possible nightlife experience for all of their patrons.

While we are glad that ReBar NYC has finally addressed the issue and provided an explanation regarding the accusations from its opening weekend, The Huffington Post has framed this situation very irresponsibly. There is nothing "unfounded" about the experiences of queer people of color in this or any other situation that has to do with their experiences regarding antiblackness in
the LGBTQ community. This opening paragraph further pushes the agenda to erase conversations and dismiss QPOC experiences as unimportant. Michael Cook should be ashamed of this writing.

The fact of the matter is that this one issue sparked an international conversation about the historical and ongoing ordeal it is to simply exist as a QPOC in a white majority environment. In doing our research and follow up discussions, many people expressed, both to Edugaytion and in social media forums that this is nothing new. As recently as this year, staff at another queer space, this one in Philadelphia, had to undergo anti-discrimination training in response to video of the establishment's owner using racial slurs toward customers. 

Just as how camera phones and the constant connection to social media have enabled people of color to hold corrupt law enforcement accountable for actions that we have all known about for years, so too are QPOC utilizing not only video, but social connectivity to expose the racism in the gay community that we have all known about for decades. 

Michael Cook, contributor at The Huffington Post, suggesting that the recent controversy surrounding ReBar NYC is "unfounded" is just as gross and tone-deaf as ReBar NYC's initial response to us when we reached out to get an explanation:
"We have no statement. The situation is not real... We're not going to give it credence at all...We do not want to expand upon that. If we did, we would do it online."
In the face of the mounting accusations, they dismissed QPOC concerns.
In the face of QPOC concerns, they attempted to erase the situation by calling it fake.
The concerns of QPOC were of such little concern that they would not give it credence.

And by calling the controversy "unfounded" the Huffington Post is complicit in this nonsense.
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