The Advocate July/Aug 2022
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Bedlam at D.C. Gay Bar When Bouncer Drags Woman Down Stairs by Hair


Popular Washington, D.C., sports bar Nellie's is under fire after a video emerged showing a bouncer dragging a young Black woman down the stairs by her hair.

The incident happened Saturday night as the capital removed COVID restrictions and many poured into the city's bars and nightclubs amid Pride season. A video posted to Instagram shows 22-year-old Keisha Young being dragged down the bar's stairs by her braids. A group of Young's family and friends piled on the bouncer dragging her and a melee ensued.

The incident, and video of it (see below, though it may be disturbing to some), sparked outrage, leading to a Black Lives Matter protest in front of the bar Sunday night. Marchers then headed to the home of Nellie's owner, Douglas Shantz. The bar closed its doors to patrons on Sunday night.

Young told reporter John Henry at the BLM protest that Nellie's staff mistook her for another woman who allegedly brought a bottle of alcohol into the club. She described physical pain following her treatment at the bar: "My body aches and I am bruised up."

Young says she lost her phone, glasses, and shoes during the incident, and her mother set up a GoFundMe to recover some of the losses. When asked what she wanted to see happen to Nellie's, Young responded, "I want them gone."

Bar owner Shantz has not yet responded to the incident, though the bar released the following statement: "We were incredibly upset and disturbed to see the unfortunate event that took place at Nellie’s last night. We are undergoing a full investigation of the situation. At Nellie’s we foster an inclusive and safe environment, so events like this are completely unacceptable to us."

The altercation at Nellie's was one of several troubling incidents that took place in D.C.'s queer spaces, the Washington Blade reports. On Saturday, a teenager with a machete threatened a gay bar patron with violence and peppered him with antigay slurs. Also, a pedestrian was killed early Sunday when a driver, allegedly drunk, crashed into a bus stop.

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