Local News

Man accuses downtown Raleigh bar of racial discrimination

Posted June 21, 2012

— A 21-year-old man who has sparked a social media firestorm with his allegations of racism at a downtown Raleigh bar will speak publicly for the first time Friday afternoon.

A press conference is scheduled for noon Friday at the State Capitol.

Jonathan Wall, a graduate assistant at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, says he was kicked out of the Downtown Sports Bar and Grill last weekend because he's black. He and his attorney are organizing the press event. 

Wall has received an outpouring of support after his story appeared on a colleague's blog. The blog quickly prompted social media and email campaigns. WRAL News received hundreds of emails and Facebook posts commenting on Wall's experience.

Some people have come forward saying they, too, have been discriminated against at the Glenwood Avenue sports bar.

An attorney for the bar, however, said the allegations are false. William Potter said the bar does not racially discriminate and that his clients take accusations of racial discrimination very seriously.

Last Saturday, Wall said he went to the bar with a friend, but they were initially told they couldn't come in because the bar required a membership. Once inside, Wall said he was quickly confronted by the bar's general manager, who said he had to "buy a drink or leave."

When he explained that he was just waiting for his friend to use the restroom, Wall said the manager physically restrained him and forcefully kicked him out.

Wall said there were no other black patrons in the bar.

Potter denied all the allegations except for the doorman's initial encounter with Wall.

"It appears that the complaint started with the fact that (Wall) did not have a membership, and this bar does require membership," he said. "It's a part of their liquor license with the ABC Commission."

Wall's supporters plan to protest outside the bar Saturday night. 


This story is closed for comments.

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  • fuzzmom Jun 25, 2012

    You know, while I don't know what happened in this incident, I do know that you won't understand the feeling of being discriminated against until it happens to you. Sometimes you don't even realize it until after the fact. For example, I've been asked not to try on a hat in a store, and to let a sales lady try it on for me to see how it looked on her. I never thought twice about it until a couple weeks ago I read that this was unacceptable and a form of racism. It hit me like a ton of bricks. I say this to say that until you have felt the gut wrenching pain that discrimination causes, you really shouldn't comment. Hopefully some of those who don't believe it exists will never have to experience it.

  • scarlett2 Jun 22, 2012

    The triangle is such a mix of cultures today, I cannot imagine any business throwing someone out solely based on race. On the news recently, they stated that the largest number of immigrants coming in the US today was Asians, which outdistanced Mexicans. Every business in the Triangle revolves around the influx of new customers. You could be a purple man from Mars, they want your business.
    With the comments made by customers about how this bar promotes you had to buy a drink or leave, I think the only color that they care about is the color of your money--green or plastic.

  • cwoodfishing Jun 22, 2012

    just had to comment on this because i was in such disbelief when i saw the news last night. me and my friends frequent dtsb just about every time we go to glenwood south and i have been there on numerous occasions and seen plenty of white customers get kicked out. you get too drunk or start a fight you're going get thrown out regardless of color. i have also never been there and not seen "black patrons" there. this story is simply someone looking for attention. last time i went they wouldnt let one of my buddies in and his was white but was also about to fall over he was so drunk. also, half the bouncers there are black so explain to me how they are racist at dtsb?

  • scarlett2 Jun 22, 2012

    The bar made no racist comments while he was there or when they tossed him out, yet his first thought is racism? Then to contact the media and incite racism?

  • timtooltime777 Jun 22, 2012

    Isn't Afirmative action racial Discrimination ? Or an all Black college or the NAACCP ? Well ?

  • twalls8788 Jun 22, 2012

    I am so sick and tired of people using the excuse of the "color of his skin" as an excuse to do anything. No matter what your color, go through the proper process to gain access or go home. Don't try to force yourself in and when told "members only" then you pull the race card. Sickening!!

  • DontVote4LiarsCheatsOrThieves Jun 22, 2012

    Objective Scientist - "Sadly... It does not appear we will EVER get past such nonsense!!!"

    Nope, not so long as people have chips on their shoulders.

    Several times I've tried to post comments on this story sharing that I am a Native American and understand discrimination.

    None of those comments were approved by the mods here at WRAL.

    Let's see if this one does.

  • DontVote4LiarsCheatsOrThieves Jun 22, 2012

    alockwr21 - "I have been to this bar before...never once asked for a membership."

    Then call the police; they broke a law. Their liquor permit clearly shows they ARE a membership bar. A copy of it is here...


  • DontVote4LiarsCheatsOrThieves Jun 22, 2012

    cbtamplin - "The membership thing that the lawyer keeps trying to use is a false statement because they are also a restaurant."

    It doesn't matter that they serve food. Their liquor permit shows they are a membership bar. A copy of it is here...


  • Objective Scientist Jun 22, 2012

    Geesh!!! Are we not past this kind of "_rap"? Sadly... It does not appear we will EVER get past such nonsense!!!