Le Bilboquet to reexamine its dress code policy in wake of racism accusations

Dominique Wilkins speaks after his statue was unveiled at Philips Arena on Thursday, March 5, 2015.
Caption
Dominique Wilkins speaks after his statue was unveiled at Philips Arena on Thursday, March 5, 2015.

Credit: HYOSUB SHIN / AJC

Credit: HYOSUB SHIN / AJC

The Atlanta Hawks superstar and Basketball Hall of Famer tweeted on May 22: “In my many years in the world, I’ve eaten at some of the greatest restaurants in the world, but never have I felt prejudice or been turned away because of the color of my skin, until today in #atlanta In @LeBilboquetAtl.” He ended the tweet with the hashtag #turnedawaybecauseimblack.

The restaurant, which tweeted an apology to Wilkins on May 23, released a statement to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution today acknowledging the incident:

“We sincerely apologize to Dominique Wilkins for the events that occurred on May 22. No patron of our restaurants should be made to feel unwelcome or less than, and for that we are deeply sorry. It was never our intention to make Mr. Wilkins – or anyone else for that matter – feel that way at our restaurant.

As an upscale, white table cloth, fine dining restaurant, we have a dress code in place to provide an experience that meets both our brand standards and our clientele’s expectations. While we will continue to have a dress code, we realize our current policy is subject to interpretation and can be unintentionally demeaning and divisive.

Accordingly, we are immediately making changes.

First, we will provide diversity, equity and inclusion training to all current employees and require it as part of our employee onboarding process moving forward.

Second, we are reevaluating our dress code and eliminating any ambiguities that may lead to misunderstandings.

Third, we are establishing more rigid protocols to ensure all policies, including our dress code, are consistently and equitably enforced by staff. This will include providing staff with communication training to make certain all messages to guests are clearly conveyed and appropriately delivered.

We will not tolerate implicit or explicit bias. We have done and will continue do the work to ensure our restaurant is a place where all feel welcome.

Again, we apologize to Mr. Wilkins and hope these changes will be met with an eye toward progress.”

Wilkins, who played for the Hawks from 1982 to 1994, became the third player in Hawks history to have his uniform number retired, in 2001. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame five years later.

Le Bilboquet opened in late 2014 at 3035 Peachtree Road in the Shops Buckhead development.