A D.C. bar is under fire after a woman says she experienced “racist, sexist, colorist epithets” while visiting as a customer.
Pierrea Naketa detailed the incident in a Medium article and explained that she visited Copycat Co. in the H Street neighborhood after leaving a silent dance party in the same area. At first, Naketa says she and her friend were having a good time but right when they were about to leave, the two witnessed a major disturbance at the bar area.
Naketa says a male bartender “with deep brown skin” had “aggressively approached two black women sitting at the bar and snatched their plate of food.” Then, Naketa says he yelled to one of the women who was dark-skinned, saying “This bit** gotta go!”
“Bit**? Why am I bit**,” Naketa says the woman responded.
This is when Naketa says the bartender escalated things and went into a tirade screaming multiple times “YOU BLACK AND YOU UGLY BIT**! YOU BLACK AS F*** AND YOU UGLY!”
Naketa noted that the dark-skinned lady’s friend had a lighter complexion. According to Naketa, the bartender was mad about another incident that happened the last time the dark-skinned woman was there. He argued that she was banned from Copycat.
Naketa explains, “the woman stated someone she was with got into an altercation with the bartender and they left, but she seemed to genuinely not know she was not welcomed to return.” As a matter of fact, Naketa says the woman and her friend were buying drinks and food with no interruption up until the bartender’s confrontation.
Not too long after the bartender began his alleged tirade, Naketa says a short Asian man, who she assumed was the manager, came out and calmly told the dark-skinned woman she had to leave. Naketa then says, “After being humiliated in front of a packed room, she left with more grace than many I know would have. She obliged the request while noting to the manager, ‘Do you hear him calling me black and ugly? Is that okay?'”
Once the woman left, Naketa says she felt obligated to talk to the manager: “I explained to him that while I do not know what happened before, and Copycat may have had good cause to want the woman to leave, the way she was asked to leave was disturbing. I asked him if he would be addressing the colorist rant with the bartender.”
That’s when Naketa says the man said, “What? Do you want me to fire him?” He then tried to explain that the bartender was Black too, according to Naketa. She responded to the presumed manager in her article, saying, “the bartender’s race is irrelevant and that his employee had screamed colorist remarks in front of a room full of people. I told him that my friends and I were uncomfortable and offended.”
Naketa argues that the presumed manger didn’t take her concerns seriously and as she began to respond, “a young Black man who worked in the kitchen appeared from around the corner with a ladle in hand.” Naketa says he wrongfully assumed that Naketa was the woman who had been kicked out. Naketa says that he yelled, “Man quit talking to these bit**es! You been talking to these bit**es for 10 minutes! Kick the bit** out!”
After Naketa’s masculine partner came over and corrected the cook, Naketa says he apologized. However, when she asked for the presumed manager’s name, he replied, “I’m not giving you my name.” Naketa argues that if she hadn’t been a dark-skinned Black woman, her “complaint would have been taken seriously.”
The next day, when Naketa Googled the restaurant, she realized that the man she was addressing who she thought was the manager was actually one of the owners of the restaurant Devin Gong.
According to Thrillist, Gong is the owner of CopyCat Co., which “combines craft cocktails with Northern Chinese bites like pot stickers, skewers, and bao buns.” He just opened another restaurant called Astoria in the Dupont Circle area of Washington, D.C., according to Eater.
Since Naketa has shared her story on Medium, some folks across social media have supported her situation, saying they will never go to CopyCat Co. again.
Naketa describes herself as a “Black lesbian, law school grad, organizer, writer” and “Founder and President of Play In the Sun, an anti-colorism organization.” The woman who she says was kicked out has yet to make a public statement about the alleged incident. NewsOne reached out to Devin Gong with no response.
Naketa urges people to share her story, writing, “I hope that I will find this woman.”