BOSTON (Legal Newsline) - Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley announced on Friday that she has reached a settlement with the owner of a Boston-based nightclub that allegedly engaged in racial discrimination.
A lawsuit was filed against Paige Hospitality, the owner and operator of Cure Lounge, alleging that the club shut down an event without reason in November following the Harvard-Yale football game.
The suit alleged that the company violated the public accommodations and consumer protection laws by ending the event prematurely because a vast majority of those in attendance were African-American.
"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. This type of behavior is the essence of racial stereotyping and it is a reminder that, despite the many strides we have taken, there is still progress to be made."
The event was hosted by three African-American graduates of Harvard. Alumni and graduate students from both Harvard and Yale were sent invitations to buy tickets to the event. Nearly 400 people bought tickets for the sold-out event.
The lawsuit alleged that at 11:15 p.m., just 75 minutes into the party, staff at the club informed guests that they needed to leave, despite there being no problems inside or outside.
Under terms of the consent judgment, Paige Hospitality will pay $30,000 that will be distributed by Coakley's office to entities that provide support for African-American students seeking higher education opportunities.
The company must also comply with all state and federal public accommodations and consumer protection laws from now on. It must also send its staff to annual anti-discrimination training and post and adhere to an approved anti-discrimination policy.
Furthermore, the company will issue a public apology, which will remain posted on the Cure Lounge website for 30 days.
The apology reads: "The owners, managers and employees of Cure Lounge wish to extend our deepest apologies to all of those affected, both directly and indirectly, by the unfortunate events that occurred on the evening of November 20, 2010. Cure Lounge further apologizes for the statements made on its behalf by its public relations group in the days following the event. Those statements were uninformed and in no way reflect the values or beliefs of the owners, managers, and employees of Cure Lounge. Cure Lounge does not tolerate racism. Cure Lounge will abide with all of the conditions requested by the Attorney General and the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination. Cure Lounge will do everything in its power to ensure that the events of November 20 will not be repeated."