Black man denied entry into bar because he was wearing ‘too many necklaces’ files $500k discrimination suit

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A black man who was prevented from entering a Portland bar in August last year to attend a birthday party of a friend because he had too many necklaces on has filed a $500,000 discrimination suit.

According to , Ray Lamont Peterson, who filed the lawsuit against Chris Lenahan, the co-owner of Splash Bar claims he was barred from entering because management wanted to keep the bar predominantly white.

The lawsuit, which accuses Lenahan of using racist terms on black customers also claims the defendant, as a way of limiting blacks from patronizing the bar usually instructed staff via radio to start “arbitrarily enforcing a dress code against African Americans” when he felt the place was getting “too dark.”

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Lamont also reports that Lenahan, at times allegedly instructed security not to allow blacks patronizing the bar exceed 30% and also instructed them to increase the cover charge for a certain group of people or individuals. In another instance, he also allegedly told a bartender to “get these ni**ers out of here” via the bar’s radio.

The Oregon Live reports that this isn’t the first time Lenahan has faced a discrimination lawsuit as he recently reached an undisclosed settlement with another black man, Sam Thompson, who sued him and his company for a 2017 incident when he was prevented from entering another bar Lenahan partially owns because the red shirt and red shoes he was wearing represented gang affiliation. According to Thompson, a white man who wore something similar was, however, allowed to enter.

Peterson’s suit alleges that when he asked security for the bar’s dress code policy after he was told his necklaces was a violation, they failed to.

Ray Lamont Peterson, 34, claims he was told he couldn't enter Splash Bar because he was wearing too many chain necklaces. This photo shows the necklaces he was wearing that night, according to his attorneys. (Submitted photo)Ray Lamont Peterson displaying the necklaces he wore — Photo Credit: oregonlive.com

“(Peterson) then asked to talk to a manager who told (Peterson) they did not want ‘that kind’ of ‘riff raff’ in the club,” the lawsuit states.

“(Peterson) asked what that was supposed to mean and protested that others wearing necklaces had been allowed entry that night. The manager responded that he could come into the club if he took one or two of his chains off.”

Lenahan has, however, denied the allegations, telling the Oregon Live they are “ridiculous” as he and his partners operate “the most diverse clubs” with “the most diverse clientele.”