Kung Fu Saloon Accepts Federal Sanctions for Its Racist Dress Code

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Kung Fu Saloon isn't admitting it discriminated against anyone, but it has agreed to takes its lumps. The bar and arcade chain has been dogged by multiple accusations of ethnic discrimination over the past five years, including several at its Dallas location in Uptown. Earlier this year, the accusations led to the bar receiving a fine and being put on probation by the city. Now the feds have taken action.

The allegations centered on a separate dress code being enforced for white and non-white patrons, with bouncers accused of limiting the number of non-white people in the bar. (In a separate incident, a bartender allegedly attacked a customer at an Austin location, although the subsequent investigation was not a part of the racism proceedings.)

On Tuesday, Kung Fu entered into a consent decree with the feds without admitting to the accusations. The chain will, for the next three years, have to place signs in all of its physical locations — and on its website and Facebook page — announcing that it doesn't discriminate based on ethnicity. The bars will be required to provide new training for employees and complaint forms to any person denied access to the bar.

Included in the federal complaint against the bar is the accusation made by Deandre Upshaw, a patron who was denied access two years ago and subsequently got the Dallas City Council to investigate — which helped lead, in turn, to the federal investigation.

"For example, in March 2013, an African-American patron [Upshaw] was denied entry for wearing a particular brand of athletic shoes. However, moments earlier, his white friend was permitted entry even though he wore the same brand of athletic shoes," the complaint says. "When the African American patron informed the Defendants’ employee that his white friend was permitted entry even though he was wearing the same brand of shoes, the employee replied that it was up to Kung Fu 'who can come in and who can’t.'”

The city's investigation of Kung Fu ended with the bar paying a $400 fine, being put on a 90-probation and sending an apology letter to Upshaw.

To ensure that Kung Fu follows its new federal requirements, the bars will have to give the feds proof of compliance every six months. They're also subject to potential periodic compliance testing. 

Kung Fu Saloon did not respond to a request for comment.

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