A New Jersey Bar owner is coming under fire after his dress code that seemingly targets black customers was made public.
Kenny Caulfield is co-owner of The Ashford in Jersey City and he has been forced to explain his dress code policy that was posted outside the bar during a soft opening in December.
The notice, which described the dress code as “upscale business casual” listed a host of prohibited clothing items including oversized jeans or shirts, headgear, ball caps, gym sneakers, athletic apparel, sweatpants or joggers, cargo pants, low or baggy pants, camouflage, and oversized jewelry and chains.
In response to the hoopla, Caulfield told NJ Advance Media on Jan. 15 that the banned apparel on the sign was posted for one day when the soft opening happened at the end of last year. Since then, he said, the dress code has simplified. Now, the code is just “casual neat” and “dress to impress.”
“That sign, that was a mistake, it was put out and it was rectified straightaway,” Caulfield said. “It was an oversight, you’re busy, you’re not paying attention to every detail. You’re going 100 miles an hour. …The sign was made up, and it wasn’t reviewed properly.”
“It’s about diversity. Everybody’s welcome,” he added. “Have you ever seen the show ‘Cheers?’ That’s my mantra, everybody should know your name, it should be a home.”
In a statement to the New York Daily News Wednesday, Caulfield, also said, “I want to make it very clear that it had nothing to do with race. We’ve built a very nice place. I expect people to dress nicely. It’s not a construction site and not a gym.”
“I’m an ethnic Chinese and I don’t tolerate any kind of discrimination in my establishment. I know full well that how painful the racism has inflicted on people,” Lam told NYDN in a statement. “I hope that we’ve made it clearer that an attempt to delineate a dress code — where perhaps ‘dress to impress’ might have been sufficient — was an error that was quickly corrected once the owners saw that it was misconstrued and perceived as an offense. It was a sign that was up for two days, a few guests commented, and the owners reacted appropriately by removing it. No offense was intended.”
What are your thoughts on the sign? Do you think it was intended to be racist?