Dallas bar faces city scrutiny after discrimination claims

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by CARLA WADE

Bio | Email | Follow: @CarlaNWade

WFAA

Posted on June 4, 2014 at 7:06 PM

DALLAS — Kung Fu Saloon, already under fire over claims of racism, faces even more scrutiny — this time from City Hall.

Council member Philip Kingston represents District 14, where the Uptown Dallas bar is located.

“Mr. [Dwaine] Caraway and I are known to have a drink from time to time," he said during Wednesday morning's Council meeting. "And the next one just might be at Kung Fu Saloon.”

"We will be there today," added Caraway, who represents District 4. "What time do they open?"

DeAndre Upshaw said he was turned away from the bar over claims he violated the dress code, despite seeing white customers dressed similarly.

He launched a social media campaign against Kung Fu Saloon last month.

"At this point, Kung Fu Saloon and bars around it are on notice," Upshaw said.

He asked Council members to look into discrimination claims — which, he says, go beyond African-Americans.

“We have heard from black people, Asian people, Hispanic people, members of the LGBT community who have reached out," Upshaw said. “And they said, 'I feel that I was targeted because of who I am and they would not let me in.'"

Council members responded by saying the city would thoroughly investigate through the department of Fair Housing, the city attorney’s office, and with the help of Dallas police.

The bar faces the possibility of having its specific use permit not renewed if it violated ordinances that prohibit discrimination.

“We don’t discriminate in District 14 or in the City of Dallas," Kingston said. "Businesses that violate our city codes will, in fact, be punished."

"We are certainly going to be moving on it very aggressively," said City Manager A.C. Gonzalez.

Last month, managers from Kung Fu Saloon said they were investigating claims of racism and insisted they serve a diverse crowd.

News 8 contacted the bar Wednesday; we were told mangers are out of town. Kung Fu Saloon has faced similar discrimination claims at its other locations in Austin and Houston.

E-mail cwade@wfaa.com

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