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article image‘Too black’ claim as ex-NBA star barred from gay club

By Andrew John     Sep 14, 2010 in Entertainment
Gay former basketball star John Amaechi says he was refused entry into a UK gay club last weekend because he was “too black.”
Amaechi, 40, had tried to enter a bar in Canal Street in Manchester’s gay village with friends. But he claims he was told by the door staff that he was “too big, too black and trouble.”
Britain’s Pink Paper carries the story on its website, saying: “When Amaechi questioned the decision, the doorman said it was a ‘private members’ bar.’ He then allegedly claimed that the New York Times best-selling author had been flagged up as ‘trouble’ on the gay village’s shared security radio network.”
Amaechi’s friends are said to have been allowed into the bar, called the Crunch.
Pink Paper quotes a bar spokesman as saying: “Your group was stopped from entering the venue on Friday night as a message was received over the NiteNet radio system [a system where several venues work together within the village, where they announce any issues they have with any customers], that your group had been argumentative and aggressive to another venue’s door staff.
Racism and bigotry
“On interview with the staff who were present at the time, we are satisfied that there were no racism or bigotry comments as you suggest. All three staff who were present on the door at the time have been with us for over 14 months and none of them have ever displayed the attitude or characteristics you suggest in your email. You have clearly misunderstood the situation and perhaps justifying your exclusion that evening.
“We consider this matter closed now.”
Pink Paper cites two other bars in the area, Taurus and VIA – “the only other Canal Street venues which Amaechi says he attended that evening” – which say they don’t operate a radio network with the bar in question.
“Amaechi’s representatives have lodged a complaint with the Equality and Human Rights Commission along with a complaint to the Manchester City Council LGBT affairs director, Terry Waller, and also with the Greater Manchester Police LGBT liaison office,” says Pink Paper, which adds that it has contacted the bar in question for a comment, but has so far received no reply.
Amaechi is a retired American-born British former NBA player who is now a broadcaster and political activist. He lives in Manchester, which is in the North of England. He retired from the NBA in February 2007, and came out as gay in his memoir, Man in the Middle.
More about John Amaechi, Gay, Gay club, Manchester, LGBT
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