A Republican mayor in Arkansas was reportedly so upset by African-American girls twerking that she banned them from having future pool parties. The move, recently disclosed as the mayor seeks election to a third term, has stirred controversy and social media conversations about racism.
Mayor Jill Dabbs, of Bryant, Arkansas, made the decision after a video of the girls at a pool party surfaced on the web in July. She referred to the dancing as “crude and nude” and “pornographic.” The young ladies were seen twerking in bikinis in the video, the Arkansas Times reported.
The twerking young women at the party didn’t violate any laws or city ordinances, and no one was involved in any violence. The partygoers, who paid to rent the space at Bishop Park Pool and are believed to be associated with students from Little Rock, also cleaned up after their event. Yet, they were banned from coming back for any future parties.
“There is debate whether this crude and nude dancing was actually in our park or just made to look like it was. But none the less I am demanding we do not rent to these individuals again,” Dabbs said in an email to the Parks Director Chris Treat, who filed a complaint against the mayor about racial discrimination.
“The Mayor refused to allow me to make any positive statement about the event,” Treat said. “She would not allow me to comment on the fact that no policies were violated, no incidents occurred, and that overall it was under control. I felt coerced into making a statement that met the Mayor, Police Chief, and, Staff Attorneys version of the events not my own.”
Treat continued, “In my opinion they over responded to the event because the event was attended by African Americans. The Mayor is working on adding Parks Department Policies to keep these kinds of events from happening again. I’m concerned that her new policies will be discriminatory in nature.”
There are more complaints from other former or current employees against Dabbs. A former alderman, Danny Steele, filed a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit Tuesday against the mayor for the city’s “failure to fully comply with a request for records concerning employee complaints” about her. Bryant’s fire chief, planning and development directors have also filed complaints against Dabbs.