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Bar apologizes for manager who didn't want African-Americans in its advertising

October 01, 2018 - 4:22 pm

NEW YORK (1010 WINS) -- The popular West Village gay bar the Monster has been forced to apologize for racist comments made by its now-former general manager, who said in a text message exchange that he was reluctant to feature an African-American drag queen in an advertisement for fear it would appear that the bar was advertising "black night."

The issue came to light after a drag queen, Honey Davenport, who performs at the bar, revealed that she had seen a text exchange -- which she posted to her Facebook page -- between general manager Italo Lopez and DJ/producer Mitch Ferrino. In the exchange, Lopez asked Ferrino to adjust a flyer (below) he had created as to not include Davenport, because as she is African-American, it would appear as if the club was promoting an evening catered to African-Americans.

"It look like we promoting i black night. We need to change it please," Lopez writes to Ferrino. "Need I a beautifuil man and the drag need to be small with Dj."

Ferrino responded, "Italo those men are beautiful!!"

Lopez later repeats his request, explaining, "Yes but it look like we are promoting black night and I don't like to get into black rink night people cool get the wrong idea and is not good for businesses."

New York City Council Speaker Corey Johnson blasted Lopez, tweeting, "Unacceptable conduct at @MonsterBarNYC in the West Village."

The Monster's owner, Charlie Rice, posted a lengthy statement on its Facebook page, apologizing for Lopez's beahvior, adding that he had resigned. Rice also said that the club's staff would undergo racial sensitivity training.

Statement from The Monster:

We are deeply upset as to how the language used in the recent text messages that came to light on social media miscommunicates our strong belief in community and diversity. We at The Monster are not going to make excuses. Rather, we are using this as an opportunity to learn and to ensure it doesn't happen again. When any member of our staff does or says something insensitive, we know it reflects on all of us.

For that reason, I am requiring all of our staff to partake in racial sensitivity training. After seeing vulnerable communities mistreated and addressed publicly that past few years, we know that sweeping it under the rug is not the answer. Facing it head on, using it as a teaching moment, admitting mistakes and encouraging growth is the way to progress. This week we will schedule an anti-bias training course for our staff to put us back on the right path.

As members of the LGBTQ community, we know it is often those who love us most who say something stupid, out of ignorance without thinking of how it will affect us. We are going to use those personal experiences to grow upon with relating to all minorities.

In closing, and on behalf of The Monster, I am sorry. I can't take away any of the negative feelings you may have about us as a result of this situation, but I can promise that it does not represent us in the past, present or future. We will use this experience to grow and ensure our words, our behavior and our advertising represent us all.

We have accepted the resignation of Club General Manager Italo and offer our sincere, deep regrets for the hurt this has caused our community.

- The Monster
(Charlie Rice)

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