Metro Weekly

Nellie’s Sports Bar fires security firm, will close for the week after protests

Protesters called for a boycott of LGBTQ bar after a viral video showing a woman being dragged down the staircase by security.

Nellie's Sports Bar
Nellie’s Sports Bar — Photo: Ted Eytan

Nellie’s Sports Bar has fired the independent security vendor it had hired to help with crowd control during this past weekend’s Pride festivities, and will remain closed for the remainder of the week.

The popular LGBTQ hangout was fiercely criticized on social media and protested by activists, including members of Black Lives Matter DC, after security guards were videotaped dragging a woman down the stairs by her arms and her hair. Some protesters called for the bar to be permanently shut down, and encouraged their friends and social circles to stop patronizing Nellie’s as a result.

Read More: Protesters gather outside Nellie’s after video shows woman being dragged down stairs

The incident allegedly stemmed from a case of mistaken identity, according to the victim, 22-year-old Keisha Young. She told WUSA9 that she was mistaken for another patron who had brought an open container of alcohol into the bar, and was roughly accosted by security and dragged down the stairs.

In a statement posted to its Facebook page, the management of Nellie’s said it had “terminated, with immediate effect” the independent security vendor and that it would continue its own investigation into what happened.

“Our investigation into the matter is ongoing, and we will cooperate with any law enforcement investigation, however we do not need to wait for the investigation’s conclusion before we take decisive action,” the statement reads. “We offer a heartfelt apology to all who witnessed the horrific events of this past weekend. No matter what behavior occurred prior, nothing warrants mistreating, and disrespecting, one of our guests.

“What we can say is we have heard the concerns of the BIPOC and LGBTQ communities,” the statement continues. “Nellie’s will be closed this week as we evaluate this regrettable situation, though we will continue to pay all non-security staff their normal wages. In the interim, we will use this time to listen and understand what more we can do to create the safe and friendly atmosphere our guests have come to expect from Nellie’s Sports Bar over the past 14 years.”

See also:

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Teenager arrested for threatening Shaw’s Tavern patron with a machete in possible hate crime

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