[This is an original letter I sent to The Whiskey — today, and will keep it updated with their response. I want people to know what happened there so they know what happens there and make their own decisions as to whether to go or not.]

Dear Toby Bird, Management at The Whiskey Nightclub,

On Friday, October 13, 2006 a situation happened at your bar that raises my question about the way that patrons at your bar are being treated on a regular basis. I arrived around 10:30 PM with three of my close friends from work (all women — useful for later). We spent the night dancing and hanging around together, and generally having a great time. At one point he had lost one of our friends so two of my friends left me at the bottom of a flight of stairs to go find their friend. During this time I was leaning against a wall waiting for them to reappear. After 3 minutes I gave up (I checked my watch) and headed up the stairs to find them at the top. We exchanged hugs and upon me stepping back after the hug I was grabbed. My arm was placed behind my back and another arm was placed on my shoulder. I turned slightly and was told by the bouncer in question that I was getting kicked out of the bar. He started to lead me down the stairs towards the back door. I never resisted his movements and along with myself my friends (two girls) were also lead out the back door. At the back door we were told by bouncer that he had reports that I had groped 4 women and he had been looking for me for the last 15 minutes. My friend Erin then asked how he could prove that in-fact I was the individual they were looking for and his response was, “The individual reported was wearing the same shirt, same hairstyle, and …… the same ring (as he pointed at my lip ring).”

I then indicated to the bouncer that we required our jackets to which he agreed to meet us at the other side of the building. After walking around the building we each gave him our tickets and I asked him for his name. Upon hearing me question the security another officer manning the front mumbled something to his friend. I asked him what he said to his friend and he told me that “he should just not bother with our jackets and send us on our ways.” Upon the return of our jackets and getting ready to go the security spoke with the police officers that were waiting nearby. As I was leaving they approached me and asked for my information. Now I was being questioned by them and my information was being taken in case one of the women in question wanted to file a complaint later. I was totally embarrassed and surprised with this method of procedure given it was completely hearsay.

Frankly, now I’m left with wondering as to whether I possibly gave someone a look that made them feel uncomfortable. I’m not the type of guy to go around groping women as I have a lot more respect for them than that. It also makes me wonder if I was being targeted because I don’t fit your “typical” clientele. Regardless I have a few questions and pieces of feedback that I would appreciate your comments on. I think the important part here is that I’m not trying to prove my innocence, because it’s my word against yours but I am questioning the procedures that took place that night.

Raised issues

  1. Why were my friends kicked out of the bar? If I am the individual in question that had supposedly been “groping” women so why not send me on my way. This leads me to further prove my case that this was a case of discriminating against me based on my looks.
  2. Why was my arm placed behind my back? When first approached by the bouncer I had no opportunity to agree or disagree to leave with him. He grabbed my arm, placed it behind my back, and forced me down the stairs. I should note that one of my friends has a hearing problem and she kept asking the other bouncer what he was doing. As he was responding to her she kept turning around to read his lips but he kept forcing her forward. Was it necessary to not try and create a huge confrontation and approach this situation with more patience, calm attitudes, and less force.
  3. I was never asked during this entire episode where I had been. I lied the only individual to ask me where I had been and when was the police officer who questioned me later. But really if you are having those types of reports wouldn’t it be more appropriate to have a full time security agent stationed in a room with cameras. When a report comes in you can find the individual in question, check tapes, and verify the story. Not that difficult and something that even a grocery store like Safeway does. Again if I were at fault here then I should be kicked out no question because women should feel safe in bars…not pieces of meat. But to think that I had groped 4 women in the process of 3 minutes is pretty crazy don’t you think. My friends were with me 99% of the night and given that he said he’d been looking for me for the last 15 minutes (unlikely) that’s a short amount of time and a LOT of women to approach the bouncer at the same time to make a report. Thus making the entire claim pretty fishy when you work out the mathematical odds of such a situation happening.
  4. Why was there a problem with getting our jackets? Not once during the entire situation was I being sarcastic, smart, or an ass. In fact at the backdoor my two friends started to yell at the bouncer and I told everyone to calm down so that we could hear the entire story. I was being really reasonable and I wonder whether this bouncer felt threatened because I had asked for his name (I’m more inclined to think this was the reason).
  5. Contacting police. I personally think it was appropriate to notify the police about this situation given that if I had groped 4 women someone might come along and lay charges. But there is a bit of a problem with this situation really. If you wanted to prevent this from happening wouldn’t you ask each women who reported to stay in a area in the bar for a few minutes, apprehend the individual, get the police to interview the women, and then interview the suspect. Otherwise, you are wasting everyone’s time and the individual at “fault” is inevitable going to get away given they actually did commit the crime. I mean you would rather have the reputation of stopping this type of thing happening rather than the reputation of letting people in to do these things and dealing with them later.

Ironically, when I tell people about this incident they tell me one of two things. Either that the reputation of The Whiskey is that they treat people that way and that people don’t want to go there or that they feel that I was targeted because of my style. I’m left feeling fairly upset about this situation as I think there were plenty of things your company could be doing to deal with this situation more appropriately. I’m disappointed in the way that I was treated at your bar, and frankly think that the bouncers completely mistreated me.


Shane B

CC: Denis Oulette