Popular Washington, D.C. bar Nellie's is facing intense scrutiny after a video showing a bouncer dragging a Black woman by her hair was posted online. Nellie's has since cut ties with the security vendor that hired the bouncer and will shut down for a week to reassess the matter.
The incident in question took place during a Pride Week celebration in the nation's capital. Twenty-two-year-old Morgan State University student Keisha Young entered the establishment with a group of friends in hope of having a good time. However, those hopes were quickly shattered as Young and a group of friends attempted to make their way up the stairs toward the bar's rooftop area. Suddenly, video recordings show a bouncer making their way up the stairs and dragging Young down by her hair. As the ordeal unfolded, a young man wearing a striped shirt appears to intervene and stop the bouncer from dragging Young down by her hair. Eventually, Young and her friends departed the venue. According to the Morgan State student, the bouncer mistook Young for another person in the club who had been previously apprehended for bringing an outside bottle into the bar.
***The video below contains images of violence against Black women***
During the incident, Young sustained bruising across multiple parts of her body. She also says she sustained a concussion and felt nauseous afterward.
"I’m pretty sure that I had a concussion, the way I was really throwing up. I had a really bad headache and everything was just dizzy. I couldn’t really focus,” Young told NBC 4 in Washington, D.C.
In the aftermath, protesters gathered outside of the U Street hotspot to voice their issues with Nellie's and its treatment of Black patrons over the years. Mayor Muriel Bowser also jumped in to offer her thoughts on the matter.
“Obviously, entrepreneurs enforce rules in their restaurants. But they’re not allowed to assault anybody,” Bowser added.
Nellie's has reportedly cut ties with the security firm that hired that particular bouncer. Management has also said that it will close the bar for the next week as they reassess the situation.
"We offer a heartfelt apology to all who witnessed the horrific events of this past weekend. No matter what behavior occurred prior, nothing warrants mistreating, and disrespecting, one of our guests," Nellie's said in a statement.
"What we can say is we have heard the concerns of the BIPOC and LGBTQ communities. Nellie’s will be closed this week as we evaluate this regrettable situation, though we will continue to pay all non-security staff their normal wages. In the interim, we will use this time to listen and understand what more we can do to create the safe and friendly atmosphere our guests have come to expect from Nellie’s Sports Bar over the past 14 years."
Reading about Black trauma can have an impact on your mental health. If you or someone you know need immediate mental health help, text "STRENGTH" to the Crisis Text Line at 741-741 to be connected to a certified crisis counselor. These additional resources are also available:
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-8255
The National Alliance on Mental Illness 1-800-950-6264
The Association of Black Psychologists 1-301-449-3082
The Anxiety and Depression Association of America 1-240-485-1001
For more mental health resources, click HERE.