The owner of a sushi restaurant in Atlanta claims he has apologized to a Black couple who were booted from the restaurant because of the husband’s footwear.
Umi owner Farshid Arshid has claimed the incident was the result of a “completely, 100% operational mistake on our end” after footage emerged of Kaylan Colbert and her husband being asked to leave the eatery, Fox 5 reported.
In a video shot by Kaylan Colbert, who arrived for a birthday dinner with her husband last Friday, her spouse is seen speaking with an employee of the restaurant inside the dining area, while wearing a pair of Nike Air Force 1 sneakers. At times, Kaylan’s husband — identified by Eater as William Johnson — is heard claiming that the decision to remove him is “pure racism,” and points to another patron, who appears to be white, wearing Adidas at the restaurant’s bar.
The owner of the sushi restaurant regretted the incident, saying it was a “mistake on our end.”
“This is pure racism. She has on Adidas!” he says, pointing to the woman at the bar.
“This is not racism. That’s the last thing this is,” the employee responds.
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Another employee asks Colbert’s husband to “speak outside,” to which they eventually agree.
“I get where you’re coming from, but please, we’re all minorities here,” an employee is heard telling the couple, before trying to claim that the woman wearing Adidas was wearing “dress sneakers.”
At that moment, a man identifying himself as the restaurant’s owner walks past. When questioned by Kaylan and her husband, the owner says that no one, whether they are wearing Nikes or Adidas, is allowed in the restaurant.
The owner then attempts to walk away, saying he’s “not going to have an argument. There’s no Air Force 1s. Done.”
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Colbert, seemingly exasperated, then remarks to her husband that, as far as the restaurant is concerned her husband is “a [n-word] at the end of the day.”
The owner overhears, and Kaylan repeats the comment. The owner then asks Kaylan to look at what he’s “f—ing wearing,” presumably referring to his own sneakers. Kaylan’s husband and the owner then get into a heated exchange, with employees and eventually a security guard responding during their argument.
The owner instructs his employees to call the police and have Kaylan’s husband arrested, but Kaylan, who identifies herself as a former district attorney, is heard remarking that she and her husband are not threatened by the call. She adds that the couple have spent thousands of dollars at this restaurant, and will no longer patronize the establishment. The owner says they are no longer welcome.
Kaylan’s husband and the owner then get into each other’s faces once again. Employees attempt to intervene, and the owner is seen repeatedly attempting to shove Kaylan’s husband.
The video ends after employees are seen walking the owner away from the area.
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Kaylan later told Fox 5 that she understands that her husband was technically violating the restaurant’s dress code, but claimed that those rules only appeared to apply to her husband on that day.
“if you’re going to have rules, they should apply to everyone, not just some people,” she said.
Umi owner Farshid Arshid now says he regrets how the situation was handled, and that the incident should have been “investigated” after the couple became upset.
Arshid further claims that he has since attempted to apologize to the couple, according to USA Today. However, Kaylan has not accepted.
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Atlanta-based rapper T.I. has also commented on the incident, sharing an Instagram post, which appeared to encourage a boycott of the restaurant, although Kaylan said the rapper had not reached out prior to making his post public.