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Polynesians refused service at Utah bar settle case


    Willie’s Lounge in Salt Lake City, Utah.

SALT LAKE CITY >> Two Polynesian men who sued a Salt Lake City bar where they said they were refused service because of their ethnicity have agreed to settle their lawsuit for about $2,500 each.

Frank Maea and Stephen Wily agreed to the settlement today following an incident in February in which they said a bartender at Willie’s Lounge told them that she couldn’t serve them because they were Polynesian, based on instructions from the owner.

Willie’s Lounge has also agreed to pay about $2,500 for attorney’s fees, post a copy of its non-discrimination policy in a prominent spot and give both men a copy of all news releases and public apologies posted by the bar, according to court documents.

“My clients are very satisfied with the outcome,” said Dustin Lance, attorney for Maea and Wily. He said he couldn’t provide any other information because of confidentiality rules.

Maea said in a previous media interview that after they entered Willie’s Lounge and ordered a drink, the bartender checked his ID and asked if he was Polynesian. When he confirmed that he was, she said she couldn’t serve him.

Geremy Cloyd, the bar’s owner, has said in the past that he wishes he could take back what happened.

Cloyd said he has an informal rule allowing female bartenders working alone at night to turn away people who look like they could make trouble, and he acknowledged that he has included Polynesian people in that category. The lawyer for the bar was not immediately available for comment.

The Salt Lake City area has a relatively large community of people of Polynesian descent. Originally drawn to Utah by Mormon missionaries in the 19th century, the state today has nearly 27,000 people who identify as being Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander, census figures show. That’s more than every state other than California, Hawaii and Washington.

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  • Plenty Polys in Utah jails……young as 9 years old….folks come from the Islands seeking a better life and better education for their kids……….kids end up in gangs then jail…… with the Internet…….maybe stay in their homeland and live the Island Style where the whole village watches out for each other?

    • Well, in place of Allie, how about a caucasian educator? My second teaching job was at a high school next to a public housing complex that was almost completely Samoan. Those kids didn’t have all of the advantages of some other groups but they were the sweetest, most accepting, and most respectful kids I ever taught. The secret? I let them know that I liked them, respected them, and thought they were capable. They always proved me correct and many are still friends years later.

      • (And, if you really “wannaknow” perhaps you might want to actually find out. I lived in Utah for 8 years (not LDS) and what you describe is invented.)

      • Good for you but the real problem is that Mormon cult beliefs are built upon racist foundations with no respect for minority groups. They mine minority groups for their insidious god-building needs (that’s why they have the largest and the best genealogy data base in the world)and exploit them for their athletic talents. Remember Polynesians and Blacks were not really welcome in Utah until they were needed to build competitive athletic teams.

        • Then tell that to the face of the tens of thousands of Polynesian Mormons on the island and in Utah.

        • but I wasn’t even remotely speaking of the LDS church other than to mention that I’m not a member but had lived in Utah. I was speaking of my experiences teaching Samoan kids and those experiences were very positive.

        • oxtail01, gimme a break. Sounds like you’ve been drinking some of the extremist Kool-Aid that Trump likes to serve at his rallies!

      • I wish you’d tell that BS to Ms Kim, the 70 plus old store lady that recently got robbed and put in a hospital by your precious, dear Samoan lads in Kalihi.

  • This type of discrimination happens in many service industry businesses, there’s almost always a sign that says they reserve the right to refuse service to anyone for whatever reason they choose.
    The only difference here is the bar waitress was dumb enough to tell them the actual reason she was refusing service.

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