Arts Desk

U Street Music Hall Fires Bouncer Who Tried to Boot Male Patrons for Dancing With Each Other

The last time Robyn was in town, she was opening for Katy Perry, playing to a packed  Merriwether Post Pavilion. Last weekend, in D.C. for a two-night stand with Coldplay at the Verizon Center, the Swedish singer brought her vocoded vocals and drum-machine hooks to U Street Music Hall. The 33-year-old performer's Saturday appearance included a short live show and an extended DJ session—clearly a hot ticket for any local dancehall queen. Well, it was, until a bouncer asked two men to leave for "dancing with one another in a sexual manner," according club co-owner Will Eastman's recent Facebook note detailing the situation.

A minor gay icon herself, Robyn certainly fosters no intolerance: She sings about getting "X-rated on the floor" and lauds her audience for "doing whatever and with whoever they like." The club, as well, prides itself on being a "supportive, inclusive, and forward-thinking environment," Eastman writes. In fact, according to Brightest Young Things' review of the show, someone wrote "Gays This Way" outside the club in sidewalk chalk the evening of the incident.

According to Eastman's note, the guard in question was a contractor brought in for extra security on the particularly packed night. When the general manager heard what happened, the guard was fired on the spot. Eastman explained in his note, which he posted yesterday afternoon, that he was "aghast" when he heard about the situation. He unequivocally apologized, "especially [to] our friends in the LGBT community," and made clear he was working to ensure no similar incident would happen in the future. Eastman went further to say if anyone could put him in contact with victims, he would like to personally apologize and DJ a free night at U Hall for them and all of their friends—"shirts not allowed." Short of painting rainbows on the club's dark walls, there's not much more Eastman could offer to make amends and reinforce the venue's own progressive views. If anyone else experiences a similar situation or feels something isn't right, Eastman suggests they email him at will@ustreetmusichall.com.

Update, 12:48 p.m. In an email, Eastman clarifies that two staff security guards "stepped in and stopped the two gentlemen from being removed by the contract security so no one was made to leave thank goodness. I'm still really upset this even happened though." The original text of the post has been updated.

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