A London nightclub has been accused of charging black women twice as much as white women for entry.
Over the weekend, allegations emerged that Drama, a nightclub at the swanky Hilton Hotel on Park Lane, charged black female patrons £20 (approximately $27) entrance fee while white women paid only £10 ($13) to enter.
The club describes itself on its website as a "new home for the loud and vibrant" and boasts of celebrity guests like Leonardo DiCaprio and A$AP Rocky. Its tagline reads: "Expect the loud. Expect the abnoxious [sic]. Expect drama."
On 10 June, Nadine Marsh-Edwards posted on Twitter: "My daughter went to a club in the west end last night. Black girls got charged £20 entrance fee—white girls £10... London life right now." Her post has since been retweeted 4,671 times.
Marsh-Edwards confirmed in a follow-up tweet that the club in question was Drama. "They need to be reminded that this is London 2018 not Mississippi 1962," she wrote. Broadly has contacted Marsh-Edwards to confirm her account, but did not receive a reply at the time of publication.
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But this isn't the first time that Drama's patrons have accused the club of racial discrimination. Some TripAdvisor users have shared similar experiences on the review site. "If you're black, stay away," one black user wrote of his visit with his wife on a Saturday evening in May 2018.
"We made sure we did everything right, we put our names on the guest list, dressed smart, arrived super early 10.30 PM with IDs. There was around six to seven people in front of us when the doors opened at 11 PM who were all allowed in," he wrote. "When we got to the front, bouncer checked our IDs, girl with clip board asked if we were on the guest list... She didn't even ask our names to check on the list, she just said, 'We're full, please step aside.'" The user also claimed that another bouncer said that his white partner was allowed to enter the club.
Drama denied any wrongdoing in a statement. "We are very sorry to upset one of our guests, who we have attempted to contact," the club said of the alleged incident involving Marsh-Edwards' daughter. "We do not tolerate any form of discrimination against any individual or group. We operate a non-discriminatory policy and we place a strong emphasis on diversity and inclusion. The standard door charge at Drama Park Lane is £20. Promotions are offered for various reasons, but never on the grounds of discrimination of race, colour or national origin."
According to the 2010 Equality Act in the UK, it is illegal to discriminate against someone on the basis of protected characteristics including their gender, race, or religion. Businesses such as nightclubs, however, are allowed to refuse entry to whoever they choose—provided that the reasons for refusal are not discriminatory under this legislation.
Other London nightclubs have previously been criticized for allegedly racist practices. In 2015, three women alleged that DSTRKT refused them entrance because they were "too dark" and "overweight." DSTRKT denied the allegations, but protesters gathered outside the nightclub in the days following to express support for the women's allegations.
A representative from Westminster Council, the local authorities who license clubs including Drama to operate, said they would investigate the allegations. "Racial discrimination is abhorrent," Councillor Ian Adams told the Evening Standard, "and it is very concerning to hear of these allegations at a nightclub in Westminster. We are looking into these claims and will work with the relevant authorities, such as the police, to ensure this matter is fully addressed.”