File this under outrageous news: According to a lawsuit filed by a group of African-American NYC club-goers, they were forced to buy a $320 bottle of vodka to get into a popular rooftop lounge while white patrons easily gained admittance without having to make a similar purchase.
Jermaine Sanders, 29, and three female friends are suing the popular spot 230 Fifth, accusing its bouncers of discrimination. They also claim nightclub staff used racial slurs. The incident soured the Brooklyn-based foursome from partying in Manhattan.
“Since this incident the plaintiffs have almost entirely given up on frequenting night life spots in Manhattan due to the prejudice they experienced that night,” the lawsuit claims.
“Sanders, his brother and two friends arrived at the sprawling club at 11:10 p.m. on Feb. 13, 2010, after booking a VIP section over the phone earlier in the day,” reports DNA Info. A bouncer blocked them from entering, even though Sanders’ girlfriend and three white female friends were already inside.
Sanders’ girlfriend came back to the entrance and informed the bouncer that they had already purchased a $320 bottle of Grey Goose vodka, which was supposed to cover the entrance fee for 10 people. But the bouncer still blocked Sanders from entering.
“You didn’t purchase a bottle from me so go back upstairs, you guys aren’t getting in,” he said, according to the lawsuit filed in Brooklyn Supreme Court.
According to DNA Info, “The bouncer finally relented on the condition that they bought another $320 bottle of booze — even though no other party on the rooftop had to do so, the lawsuit says.”
“They had to agree to terms and conditions that were different from what a white patron was subjected to,” Sanders’ lawyer, Fred Lichtmacher, told the outlet.
The story continues. When Sanders’ three black female friends, Nyisha Haynes, Niyah Cook, and Julia Cook, arrived later at the club, they were turned away while 45 non-black patrons were admitted, the lawsuit says.
Reports DNA Info, despite Sanders’ protests that his group had bought two bottles, which should have covered 20 guests, the bouncer still wouldn’t admit the women. The bouncer allegedly called Haynes and the Cooks “black b—-es” and told them, “I let enough of you up here tonight.”
“It sounds preposterous to me,” Michael Scharf, a managing member of 230 Fifth, told DNA Info. “We don’t discriminate. We have African-American customers every night and value their patronage.” According to Scharf, the club has not been served with the lawsuit.
This isn’t the first discrimination lawsuit against the club. In 2011, 16 black men sued 230 Fifth for $500 million, claiming they were booted from the bar after then-owner, Steven Greenberg, started screaming at the staff that they would “f— up my $10,000 sofa” with a cake they had brought, write DNA Info.