Boston Club Apologizes for Alleged Racism

Max de La Bruyere and James Lu, Yale Daily News, Feb. 28, 2011

Cure Lounge, the Boston nightclub accused by patrons of racism for shutting down a black alumni party the weekend of the Harvard-Yale football game, issued a public apology and agreed to pay a $30,000 fine Friday.

The club will also have its employees undergo annual anti-discrimination training as part of a judgment by the Massachusetts Attorney General’s office and the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination, Attorney General Martha Coakley announced Friday. The consent judgment ends lawsuits against the club’s owner, Paige Hospitality Inc., alleging the club’s actions violated public accommodations and consumer protection laws. Those lawsuits followed claims by the event’s organizers, three Harvard graduate students, that the club’s management cited concerns about “local gangbangers” and the “wrong crowd” in closing the party.

“Massachusetts businesses cannot refuse to host events because of racial reasons,” Coakley said. “In this case, club staff made harmful and ill-conceived conclusions based on the simple fact that most of the guests were black.”

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At the event, staff refused to admit guests who did not present Harvard or Yale identification, though party organizers pointed out that most of the 400 guests would be alumni and thus without school IDs, according to an e-mail by party organizer and Harvard Business School student Michael Beal. Fearing disruptive activity, the club then asked those it had already admitted to leave around 11:00 p.m., he added.

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As part of the agreement, Cure Lounge issued a public apology that will remain on its website for 30 days.

“Cure Lounge does not tolerate racism,” the statement reads. “And will do everything in its power to ensure that the events of November 20 will not be repeated.”

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The club also apologized for statements made on its behalf by George Regan Jr., the chairman of Boston public relations firm Regan Communications Group, after the event.

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In a November interview with the News, Regan said the party was shut down because of “bad people,” and “professional wise-guys [who] couldn’t spell the words ‘Harvard’ or ‘Yale’ … who cause trouble,” and not because of the color of the guests’ skin.

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