Paris: A doorman working at an elite Parisian restaurant embroiled in a racism scandal said Monday that he was told to refuse entry to non-white customers.
The Manko restaurant and nightclub on the exclusive Avenue Montaigne, a short walk from the Champs-Elysees, is being investigated after video emerged of black women being turned away.
The Peruvian-themed venue denies having a racist policy and has apologised to three shocked women who filmed their experience on July 16 and posted it on TikTok.
“They told me right away ‘you shouldn’t let many Africans in. You shouldn’t let many people from the Maghreb (North Africa) in’,” the doorman seen in the clip told BFM television on Monday.
Named as Damien by the channel, the bouncer was removed after the TikTok clip went viral but he said the directives came from “managers” and he was simply following the “policy of the establishment”.
The women in the video are turned away on the grounds that they are not in “evening wear” - even though they are in dresses and heels.
“But we’re in evening wear! It’s a joke... what should I have worn?” one of them can be heard saying, adding that it was her “first experience of racism”.
Other black people can be seen being turned away, while white guests are allowed to enter.
Damien, who worked for a private security company, said he had been told to find pretexts to refuse entry to non-white customers.
French prosecutors opened an investigation Friday into a possible case of racial discrimination.
“When I learned of this, I was furious because like everyone, I discovered these images and I asked myself ‘what is going on?’,” manager Tony Gomez told BFM last week.
In 2018, L’Avenue - a brasserie located in the same area of Paris - was accused of having a discriminatory policy of declining reservations from Arab, African or veil-wearing customers.
Its manager denied the allegations in an investigation by the BuzzFeed website.