Two Asian friends recently fell victim to racism after being denied entry to a Côte Brasserie in the UK.
The pair was denied a table at Cote Brasserie in Welwyn Garden after being looked up and down by the receptionist. Fatima Rajina took to Twitter to describe the ordeal she and her friend, Nasar Rahman, faced.
31-year-old Rajina is a British-Bangladeshi and Rahman is a British-Pakistani. According to the pair, they were told that the restaurant was ‘reservations only’.
Nasar described that the person at the entry of the restaurant looked at him ‘up and down’ in a very disrespecting manner, before telling them they couldn’t get a table.
The pair claimed that they could see many empty tables, but returned without creating a fuss. Nasar, just to make sure that they were denied entry solely on the basis of racism, later called the restaurant mimicking “a white accent” and inquired if they could get a table. The restaurant management replied in the affirmative and offered them one almost immediately.
Nasar then switched back to his normal accent and asked why they weren’t offered a table when they walked in minutes ago. On hearing this, the woman over the phone sounded flustered and said she would file a complaint – and that they could come back if they wanted to.
Nasar and Fatima were shocked at the rude behavior from the staff at the restaurant, and claimed they couldn’t believe this had happened to them. Fatima wrote this was her first experience with racism, and that ‘it hurts’ to realize this really happens.
She further said it was difficult and distubring for them to believe that they were denied a table because of their race and color.
Fatima thanked the people for supporting her and her friend. The pair has since also appeared on BBC to discuss the allegations.
The company has said in a public statement that they are taking the issue “very seriously”. The CEO of the restaurant, Alex Scrimgeour, appeared on BBC along with Fatima and Nasar and claimed that they had spoken to someone else at the door. He insisted there had been a mix-up of teams, and only the person speaking on the phone represented the restaurant.
He said, “I’m not sorry for an act of racism because we haven’t established that. I’m sorry that you left our business feeling that you had been in some way prejudiced against.”
“If there is any act of racism you have my word we will act to the full extent that we are allowed to under the law,” he said.
While the matter is being investigated, the restaurant says they are “innocent until proven guilty”.