SACRAMENTO -- A popular group of downtown Sacramento restaurants is being boycotted after allegations of racial discrimination.
Sister Circle announced a boycott Friday of The Mix Downtown, Cafeteria 15L/The Park Ultra Lounge, Iron Horse Tavern, and Firestone Public House — all part of the MAC entertainment group.
“We all collectively said this isn’t okay and we need to do something about it,” said Mellonie Richardson.
Richardson is a member of Sister Circle, a group of about 2,900 Sacramento-area black women. At a 2015 gathering at Cafeteria 15 L, they believe their group was discriminated against when restaurant staff asked them to quiet down while ignoring other patrons, they say, were being equally as loud.
“We were on sofas enjoying being happy and no one else in the surrounding area was asked to quiet down, the surrounding area was lively,” said Richardson.
The women believe they were singled out because of stereotypes about black female behavior as opposed to their actual behavior. They were insulted, but moved on. That is until two weeks ago when one of their members posted a Facebook status detailing a run-in she had with a bouncer at MIX Downtown.
Showing bloody broken nails, the woman claims the bouncer manhandled her and called her a racial slur. As her post circulated, Richardson says other sister circle members shared more stories about perceived discrimination at Mix, Cafeteria 15L and other MAC Entertainment Group properties. Similar allegations are echoed in Yelp reviews.
In an open email to Mason Wong, who, along with his brothers, locally owns and runs the businesses, Sister Circle announced the boycott, listing specific dates and incidents when they say their members were not treated fairly by the staff at those venues.
“We want to do the right thing,” Wong told FOX40.
According to Wong, prior to Friday’s email, he was only aware of the incident where the bouncer used a racial slur. He says he sat down with the victim in that case and apologized.
“Based on derogatory remarks made by our employee, he was immediately terminated, no longer works here," Wong said, adding that he investigated the other incidents cited in the letter, and believes at least one is not credible.
As a requirement for lifting their boycott, Sister Circle laid out specific demands, including firing the current security team and having diversity training for employees.
Wong says he plans to respond to their letter, but has not decided how, or if, he will address their demands.